Ben Wear

Transportation reporter

Ben Wear covers transportation for the Austin American-Statesman. An Austin native and UT graduate, Ben has worked for the Statesman since 1994 and had the transportation beat since 2003. He also teaches journalism as an adjunct professor and, in the fall, is a football official for everything from Pop Warner to high school games. He is the proud father of Molly, a sophomore at the University of Michigan and an aspiring actress and costume designer. 

Latest from Ben Wear

Wear: Work underway to speed up the sometimes slow road to Houston
 The nagging question always pops up for anyone who sets out for Houston on Texas 71 or U.S. 290 and, not far down the road, runs into a red light: Why in the world is there not an interstate highway between the state capital and Texas’ largest metro area? Why did highway builders choose to route Interstate 10 not through Austin but...

Posted: a day ago

The nagging question always pops up for anyone who sets out for Houston on Texas 71 or U.S. 290 and, not far down the road, runs into a red light: Why in the world is there not an interstate highway between the state capital and Texas’ largest metro area? Why did highway builders choose to route Interstate 10 not through Austin but...
Early Bird: Scooter company, license in hand, relaunches in Austin
 Bird, once again, is the early bird. The Venice, Calif.-based scooter-rental company, which released its electric vehicles onto Austin streets in early April without city permission, scattered them about Central Austin on Wednesday after being granted a city license to operate. The company, and its chief competitor, Lime, had taken their...

Posted: 3 days ago

Bird, once again, is the early bird. The Venice, Calif.-based scooter-rental company, which released its electric vehicles onto Austin streets in early April without city permission, scattered them about Central Austin on Wednesday after being granted a city license to operate. The company, and its chief competitor, Lime, had taken their...
Bird gets city OK to restart scooter rental, joining Pace bikes
 Bird will be the early bird once again, it appears. The scooter-rental company, which released its vehicles onto Austin streets without city permission in early April, Tuesday was granted a city licence to operate yet again after a pause that began April 29 when the Austin officials threatened to crack down. Bird officials could not say definitely...

Posted: 4 days ago

Bird will be the early bird once again, it appears. The scooter-rental company, which released its vehicles onto Austin streets without city permission in early April, Tuesday was granted a city licence to operate yet again after a pause that began April 29 when the Austin officials threatened to crack down. Bird officials could not say definitely...
Wear: Austin’s light rail backers ponder thumbs-down vote in Nashville
 Nashville was going to be the template. Now, for Austin light rail advocates — and opponents, for that matter — the May 1 election in Tennessee’s capital is more like a blank slate. They can look at the crushing result — 64 percent of the voters there rejected the five-route, multibillion-dollar plan and its assorted...

Posted: 17 days ago

Nashville was going to be the template. Now, for Austin light rail advocates — and opponents, for that matter — the May 1 election in Tennessee’s capital is more like a blank slate. They can look at the crushing result — 64 percent of the voters there rejected the five-route, multibillion-dollar plan and its assorted...
Austin rental bike, scooter rules debut to mixed reaction by companies
 The city of Austin put out emergency rules for dockless scooters and bikes late Tuesday, approving lengthy regulations that immediately received an emphatic thumbs-down from some of the dozen or more companies waiting to roll out the vehicles here. The 10 pages of rules and six pages of licensing requirements, crafted by the Austin Transportation...

Posted: 17 days ago

The city of Austin put out emergency rules for dockless scooters and bikes late Tuesday, approving lengthy regulations that immediately received an emphatic thumbs-down from some of the dozen or more companies waiting to roll out the vehicles here. The 10 pages of rules and six pages of licensing requirements, crafted by the Austin Transportation...
Austin bike, scooter rules debut to mixed reaction from companies
 11:30 a. m. update: Lime (formerly LimeBike) issued a statement Thursday morning in reponse to the city of Austin’s emergency rules for dockless scooter and bikes, which were finalized late Tuesday: “Austin has always been a leader in innovation, and we commend the city for remaining committed to forward-thinking, modern transportation...

Posted: 17 days ago

11:30 a. m. update: Lime (formerly LimeBike) issued a statement Thursday morning in reponse to the city of Austin’s emergency rules for dockless scooter and bikes, which were finalized late Tuesday: “Austin has always been a leader in innovation, and we commend the city for remaining committed to forward-thinking, modern transportation...
Paxton: State law unclear about restrictions on toll road spending
 Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, asked about using restricted state money to help fund toll road projects that include improvements to free lanes, punted on Tuesday. In a non-binding opinion, Paxton said state law lacks a specific definition of “toll road” and that no case law has been handed down filling in those blanks. Therefore...

Posted: 18 days ago

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, asked about using restricted state money to help fund toll road projects that include improvements to free lanes, punted on Tuesday. In a non-binding opinion, Paxton said state law lacks a specific definition of “toll road” and that no case law has been handed down filling in those blanks. Therefore...
Paxton gives mixed opinion on toll road spending
 Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, asked about using restricted state money to help build toll projects that also have improvements to free lanes, punted on Tuesday. The attorney general, in a non-binding opinion
            requested in November by state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, said state law lacks a specific definition of “toll...

Posted: 19 days ago

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, asked about using restricted state money to help build toll projects that also have improvements to free lanes, punted on Tuesday. The attorney general, in a non-binding opinion requested in November by state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, said state law lacks a specific definition of “toll...
Spin, Zagster ask city to penalize early-bird scooter companies
 Spin and Zagster, along with several other bike or scooter rental companies, spent a frustrating April watching Bird and LimeBike get a jump on the dockless mobility market in Austin. Now they’re calling on the city to let them return the favor. Officials with the two companies sent a letter to city officials Monday asking them to &ldquo...

Posted: 19 days ago

Spin and Zagster, along with several other bike or scooter rental companies, spent a frustrating April watching Bird and LimeBike get a jump on the dockless mobility market in Austin. Now they’re calling on the city to let them return the favor. Officials with the two companies sent a letter to city officials Monday asking them to &ldquo...
Wear: Invasion of the sidewalk snatchers soon to descend on Austin
 This is a story about how weird things are about to get on the streets and sidewalks of Central Austin. On April 26, the day the Austin City Council was scheduled to consider an ordinance governing dockless scooter and bike rentals, I decided to scooter over to City Hall for the start of the 10 a.m. meeting. Seemed appropriate to the subject...

Posted: 22 days ago

This is a story about how weird things are about to get on the streets and sidewalks of Central Austin. On April 26, the day the Austin City Council was scheduled to consider an ordinance governing dockless scooter and bike rentals, I decided to scooter over to City Hall for the start of the 10 a.m. meeting. Seemed appropriate to the subject...
Tolls removed, the Oak Hill ‘Y’ expansion project gets new life
 The Oak Hill tollway project, delayed for a generation as development boomed on Austin’s western edge and traffic thickened, has been rejuvenated — and with tolls removed. Last fall’s sudden clampdown on toll projects by state officials, it appears, might have laid the groundwork for moving forward on a highway expansion...

Posted: 23 days ago

The Oak Hill tollway project, delayed for a generation as development boomed on Austin’s western edge and traffic thickened, has been rejuvenated — and with tolls removed. Last fall’s sudden clampdown on toll projects by state officials, it appears, might have laid the groundwork for moving forward on a highway expansion...