BG Reads | News You Need to Know (June 3, 2019)
FIRM UPDATE: Bingham Group Adds Tina Bui as Senior Consultant for Land Use and Transportation
The Bingham Group, LLC (Bingham Group), an Austin based consulting firm providing government affairs, public affairs, land use, and procurement services, today announced the addition of Tina Bui as a Senior Consultant.
An Austinite since childhood, Tina is a local government insider with 20 years of experience in public policy and administration. Having built the bulk of her career at the City of Austin and Capital Metro, she has rare experience on all sides of City Hall- having served as a policy adviser to an Austin council member, staffer in multiple City departments, and political appointee to the City of Austin’s Planning Commission.
Her work has covered countless issue areas, including land use planning; transportation, public transit and smart mobility; water and waste management utilities; and general government administration… (READ MORE)
Austin Transportation releases yearly report (Austin Monitor)
The Austin Transportation Department released its annual report for 2018 on Friday, featuring a month-by-month breakdown of its major accomplishments from last year as well as an overview of its $52 million in operating budget spending.
The report highlights five major intersection safety projects, each funded by the 2016 Mobility Bond at an average cost of roughly $1 million each, completed between May and December. The intersection projects aimed to improve safety through installation of turn lanes and upgraded traffic signals, and by further delineating pedestrian and bicycle facilities using paint and other materials… (LINK TO STORY)
Central Texas schools show slight gains in annual rankings (Austin American-Statesman)
While Central Texas schools demonstrate strong academic performance overall, the region’s campuses lag behind those in other major metro areas of the state in educating low-income students and improving struggling campuses, according to a new report being released Monday.
While the region’s schools are on par with others across the state in the number of campuses that earn A and B letter grades, the new data released by the Houston-based nonprofit Children at Risk shows Austin-area educators have had less success in boosting schools where the majority of students are low-income or in increasing the number of high-performing campuses… (LINK TO STORY)
Cap Metro to debut new ride-hailing service in Manor (Austin Monitor)
On Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously approved funding a new ride-hailing project in Manor run by Capital Metro. The service, called Pickup, aims to provide residents of Austin’s fastest-growing suburb an alternative to driving that is more reliable than existing bus service.
While Pickup is modeled after Uber and Lyft, there are some key differences. First, rides only cost $1.25, no matter the distance or duration of the journey. Second, rides can only occur within a strictly designated zone. In this case the zone includes the city of Manor and some surrounding parts of unincorporated Travis County… (LINK TO STORY)
Legislative session boosts Texas’ pro-business rep (Austin American-Statesman)
The state’s business-friendly reputation has a new coat of polish, thanks to the just-ended legislative session. The buffing by Texas lawmakers included reauthorizing a key publicly funded economic development program, constraining the growth of property taxes and beefing up education programs aimed at better preparing homegrown workers to take jobs generated by the state’s strong economy.
Among other notable measures, lawmakers laid groundwork for an entirely new industry in the state when they sanctioned the cultivation and processing of hemp, marijuana’s nonpsychoactive cousin. They also took steps to preserve the status of Texas as a hub for cancer research and startup biotech companies by scheduling a referendum in November to ask voters statewide to authorize more taxpayer-funded grant money for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, known as CPRIT… (LINK TO STORY)
Nirenberg continues to outpace Brockhouse in fundraising for San Antonio’s mayoral runoff (San Antonio Express-News)
Mayor Ron Nirenberg continued to raise and spend more money than Greg Brockhouse in San Antonio's mayoral runoff, according to new campaign finance reports released Friday, but the challenger brought in his largest haul of the year.
Nirenberg raised $329,770 and spent $321,755 between April 25 and May 29, according to his form. He reported having $95,588 left on hand going into the campaign’s final week. Brockhouse raised $114,675 and spent $105,135 in that same span, with $28,531 left over as of May 29. While he still trailed Nirenberg’s campaign by a margin of 3-to-1, Brockhouse’s report represented an improvement from his fundraising numbers before the May 4 general election, when he was raising significantly less money than any serious mayoral contender of late… (LINK TO STORY)
As hurricane season begins, 95 percent of Harvey flood protection damage unrepaired (Houston Chronicle)
As the Atlantic hurricane season arrives Saturday, Harris County leaders say the region remains extremely vulnerable to major storms two years after Hurricane Harvey’s unprecedented rains swamped the Houston area, forcing leaders to consider how flood protection projects can be sped up.
Ninety-five percent of the county’s flood control infrastructure damaged by Harvey has yet to be repaired, a testament to the scope of the monster storm and the laggard pace at which the federal government disburses funds. Though the county flood control district has begun projects supported by a $2.5 billion flood infrastructure bond passed by voters this past August, no major improvements have been completed… (LINK TO STORY)
As trade war spreads to Mexico, companies lose a safe harbor (New York Times)
When trade tensions with China flared last year, many companies sought refuge in a country with a long, stable relationship with the United States: Mexico.
Now, that alternative for production and materials may also be in jeopardy with President Trump’s threat to impose escalating tariffs on imports from Mexico, aimed at forcing action on illegal immigration. In the short term, the tariffs would mean lower profits for American importers and higher prices for American consumers on everything from avocados to Volkswagens… (LINK TO STORY)
'Gold rush': Cannabidiol industry booms amid uncertain regulation (NPR)
President Trump announced that he will begin imposing tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico beginning June 10 unless that country does more to help reduce illegal immigration from Central America.
In a statement issued late Thursday, the president cited his authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and said the crisis at the southern border requires action… (LINK TO STORY)
Episode 48 - Policy Update on Palm School and the Austin Convention Center
On this episode, Bingham Group Senior Consultant Paul Saldaña updates on discussions around Austin’s Palm School.
Significantly, at its 5/23 meeting the Austin City Council unanimously voted a resolution directing city staff to begin extensive study of information related to preserving the Palm School. Also included there were directions to study the expansion of the Austin Convention Center (itself a point of contention on the dais).