By Peter Simek, Published in FrontBurner, D Magazine; October 7, 2019
In Texas, the stars at night are big and bright, the Alamo is never forgotten, and Texas’ state government wants nothing to do with public transit. State funding of transportation has always vastly favored highways and roads over buses and trains. Historically, federal government funding hasn’t fared much better, and the regional agency that directs federal transportation investment in North Texas has spent vastly more on the highway infrastructure that incentives sprawl over transit projects that amplify equitable mobility.
That leaves Texas’ urban metros in a bind. How do you provide the urban amenities that help cities thrive when state and federal policies work directly against urban interests? With regards to public transit, Austin and Houston hope to provide an answer by taking matters into their own hands and issuing billions in city bonds to fund new transportation projects.