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Old March 16th, 2012, 06:03 PM   #1
diablo234
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Texas is a big winner in the Senate’s bipartisan highway bill

Some good news regarding the recent highway bill in the Senate.

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Texas is a big winner in the Senate’s bipartisan highway bill
http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2012...-highway-bill/

The House of Representatives hasn’t been in town this week. The result, it seems, is that things are moving smoothly — in a surprisingly bipartisan way — in Washington.

The Senate managed to reach two big bipartisan deals: to confirm stalled judicial nominees, including two from Texas, and to approve a two-year, $109 billion surface transportation bill.

The proposal, formally called the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (or MAP-21), was strongly pushed by Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who called the measure “a significant win for Texas.”

One big victory was Hutchison’s success in increasing the rate-of-return for Texas contributions to the federal Highway Trust Fund (through gas tax revenues) from 92 percent to 95 percent. There also were several provisions of particular interest to the Lone Star State. Some key examples:

Mass Transit Systems
MAP-21 provides funding for the advancement of bus and rail projects in Texas. Of particular interest to Houston is the expansion of Metro light rail. The bill also benefits Texas by allowing more spending flexibility in high-growth areas, permitting federal funds to cover operating expenses.

I-69
Construction of the proposed Interstate 69, the so-called NAFTA Superhighway from the Texas-Mexico border north into the American heartland, would move forward under MAP-21. The bill allows for segments to be deemed “Interstate” if they meet federal, access-controlled standards. This provision will allow for development along unfinished corridors.

The Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act
After years of trying, Hutchison finally succeeded in winning approval of new safety rules for interstate motor coaches, The Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act of 2011, co-sponsored by Hutchison and Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown, would require the Department of Transportation to upgrade safety standards and training requirements.

More specifically, the bill would require motor coaches to have safety features like seat belts, anti-ejection window glazing, crush-resistant roofs and electronic stability control systems that prevent rollovers. It would also require classroom and behind-the-wheel training for drivers and strengthened vehicle safety inspections.

“Too many lives have been wasted in tragedies that are entirely preventable because of poor bus safety standards,” Hutchison said. “Basic safety standards…will go a long way in making our roads safer for everyone – not just bus occupants.”

The proposal was spurred by a series of fatal bus crashes, including several in Texas.

Streamlined Project Review
MAP-21 also streamlines the environmental review process, waiving review for projects with minimal environmental impact. This would allow some projects to be completed more quickly.

Transportation Infrastructure Financing Innovation Act

The annual spending cap for the Transportation Infrastructure Financing Innovation Act, or TIFIA, increased from $122 million to $1 billion. Eligible projects would also grow to include freight and passenger rail, international land ports of entry and intelligent transportation systems — all programs likely to benefit Texas.

According to Senator Hutchison’s office, “Texas leads the nation in TIFIA awards over the program’s history and will be well-positioned under the new program.”

Of course, these potential Texas benefits are contingent on the bill’s approval in the House. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney noted that the Obama administration is pleased that the Senate was able to reach a bipartisan agreement.

“We are hopeful that the House will move swiftly and in a similarly bipartisan fashion to do the same,” Carney said.
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Old March 17th, 2012, 12:26 AM   #2
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We need to reverse course

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Originally Posted by diablo234 View Post
Some good news regarding the recent highway bill in the Senate.
Why are we still building highways to use when there isn't any need for them as there aren't any new jobs being created to drive to? And by jobs, I mean good quality career type jobs and not the kind of government generated contract jobs that would make a pimp proud. Do the wizard like Washingtonian econmists count jobs in the porno business as legit? It's time we cut all the taxes placed on gasoline at the pump along with implementing stamps in order to ration it to keep consumption low. This way we will be able to generate enough wealth for a more balanced economy across the whole nation and not just in the state of Texas.
I just don't see the optomism here. If Obama wins, Texas and specifically Houston is going to lose huge!
Think about it this way. They, the spin doctors, say the presidents in the past have always gone the other direction of the spectrum, politically speaking, in order to guarantee that they will receive the necessary 50.1% of the vote necessary for reelection to a second term of four more years. IN other words, Obama should have behaved more conservative the first four years.
But for cripes sake! Obama is already left of communism and getting down and all hateful towards Texas and he isn't even in those second four years when presidents generally implement their political agenda!
It is no secret that Obama hates Texas. He has shown a desire to do away with good paying manufacturing jobs in this state.

Last edited by Mister Nifty; March 17th, 2012 at 01:27 AM.
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Old March 17th, 2012, 06:23 PM   #3
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Can we confine the politics to the Skybar? Thx.
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Old March 17th, 2012, 08:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mister Nifty View Post
Obama is already left of communism
Do you really know what communism is? If you did, you would not say anything like that. But I don't want to argue with you so that is all I will say.

Other than that, I think it's great news for Houston to get funding for the extension of its light rail system.
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Old March 17th, 2012, 10:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Nifty View Post
Why are we still building highways to use when there isn't any need for them as there aren't any new jobs being created to drive to? And by jobs, I mean good quality career type jobs and not the kind of government generated contract jobs that would make a pimp proud. Do the wizard like Washingtonian econmists count jobs in the porno business as legit? It's time we cut all the taxes placed on gasoline at the pump along with implementing stamps in order to ration it to keep consumption low. This way we will be able to generate enough wealth for a more balanced economy across the whole nation and not just in the state of Texas.
I just don't see the optomism here. If Obama wins, Texas and specifically Houston is going to lose huge!
Think about it this way. They, the spin doctors, say the presidents in the past have always gone the other direction of the spectrum, politically speaking, in order to guarantee that they will receive the necessary 50.1% of the vote necessary for reelection to a second term of four more years. IN other words, Obama should have behaved more conservative the first four years.
But for cripes sake! Obama is already left of communism and getting down and all hateful towards Texas and he isn't even in those second four years when presidents generally implement their political agenda!
It is no secret that Obama hates Texas. He has shown a desire to do away with good paying manufacturing jobs in this state.
*facepalm*
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Old March 19th, 2012, 05:57 AM   #6
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The east end, southeast, and north line is already being funded. My guess is this is for the university and uptown line. With the politician trying to stop this last month but was ignored, it looks like the two u lines are close to starting construction.
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Old March 21st, 2012, 02:19 AM   #7
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Enough is enough

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*facepalm*
Why are we being happy about receiving 95 cents for every dollar Texas sends into Washington?
Why are we even sending our money to Washington so that a huge bevy of unnecessary middle men can send less of it back after discounting the huge amount for their corruption. I'm not being political here, but just claiming this isn't good news to be proud of whether you are hot pink liberal or baby blue conservative. If you don't want the nation hooked on a false economy of counterfeit money similarly to how crack addicts are addicted to a potent substance devoid of any nutritional value, then someone somewhere has to say enough is enough.
WE DON'T WANT TO WORK AS YOUR WHORES ANY LONGER IN ORDER TO AFFORD TO BUY YOUR CRACK, THANK YOU!
But in the future, I promise to refrain from politics trying my best to be a zebra with neither black nor white stripes.
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Old March 21st, 2012, 02:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by gstolze View Post
Do you really know what communism is? If you did, you would not say anything like that. But I don't want to argue with you so that is all I will say.

Other than that, I think it's great news for Houston to get funding for the extension of its light rail system.
Communist nations today are hard at work building factories and creating manufacturing jobs. In comparison, the politics of Obama is more like the days of the failed five year plans and the old Soviet Union. But I certainly don't want to offend anyone as from now on I am going to be a zebra neither here nor there but like a weatherman telling the corniest of jokes.

In regards to Houston's light rail, I think the system is being created to hastily. I also think Metro has a tendency to step on the toes of the people they serve.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 06:58 PM   #9
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Metro sucks. Thats obvious. They have already stepped on toes and tried under table dealing that has caused the project to get delayed due to funding being pulled. But I consider the whole project to be nothing more then a bandaid on a gun shot wound to the belly. The lack of adequate mass transit in Houston is causing serious problems. Specifically this is a major reason Houston has not been able to hold more event like the superbowl. The city simply just cant handle the influx of people. Hopefully with the success of the Final 4 being in town they will start seriously thinking about making useful improvements to transportation.
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Old March 24th, 2012, 01:26 AM   #10
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Metro sucks. Thats obvious. They have already stepped on toes and tried under table dealing that has caused the project to get delayed due to funding being pulled. But I consider the whole project to be nothing more then a bandaid on a gun shot wound to the belly. The lack of adequate mass transit in Houston is causing serious problems. Specifically this is a major reason Houston has not been able to hold more event like the superbowl. The city simply just cant handle the influx of people. Hopefully with the success of the Final 4 being in town they will start seriously thinking about making useful improvements to transportation.
Something seems to be going on even deeper below the ground of Houston. Has the city started sinking again? Would this be news officials would want to keep silent? I was reading about the huge amount of water main breaks during this recent summer drought, so numerous they can't be fixed in a timely manner to the extent that crews were just piling lots of clay atop them and packing them down to diminish their flow temporarily.
I was also noticing a potential problem at the intersection of Wayside and Harrisburg in East Houston where two rail lines already exist on both sides of the planned light rail line and a station there. One rail line does seem to bypass the major artery of 90, but not on the other streets which intersect it. Now they are adding the light rail to the center of all this. There was the point of contention many years in Houston where a planned freeway (I think it was 225) into downtown was cancelled in order to keep it from dividing the neighborhood. Well . . . look at it now. Funny how things work out.
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