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Latest from Ben Wear

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Wear: Driving or scooting, it’s all about weighing the risk and reward
 I’ve been thinking about the concept of acceptance of risk — and scooters and automobiles. This week, my colleagues Kelsey Bradshaw and Katie Hall wrote a story about scooter safety in the wake of the city’s first known serious injury involving one of those vehicles since Bird and Lime brought them into the Austin...

Posted: 2 days ago

I’ve been thinking about the concept of acceptance of risk — and scooters and automobiles. This week, my colleagues Kelsey Bradshaw and Katie Hall wrote a story about scooter safety in the wake of the city’s first known serious injury involving one of those vehicles since Bird and Lime brought them into the Austin...
Capital Metro, city of Austin ready to team up for major transit push
 Capital Metro and city of Austin officials know that if the area is ever going to get high-dollar, big-impact transit, the leaders of those two governments — and perhaps a few others — will have to be singing from the same hymnal. The cost is simply too huge and the logistics too complex for Capital Metro to go it alone. And federal...

Posted: 7 days ago

Capital Metro and city of Austin officials know that if the area is ever going to get high-dollar, big-impact transit, the leaders of those two governments — and perhaps a few others — will have to be singing from the same hymnal. The cost is simply too huge and the logistics too complex for Capital Metro to go it alone. And federal...
Cap Metro, Austin City Council to jointly mull transit future
 If the Austin area is ever to have light rail or even a high-capacity system of buses, Capital Metro and city of Austin leaders are going to have to work together to make that happen. Capital Metro’s ability to raise money for such an expensive project is limited, while the city can raise taxes or fees in a variety of ways. And the...

Posted: 8 days ago

If the Austin area is ever to have light rail or even a high-capacity system of buses, Capital Metro and city of Austin leaders are going to have to work together to make that happen. Capital Metro’s ability to raise money for such an expensive project is limited, while the city can raise taxes or fees in a variety of ways. And the...
Wear: Cap Metro plugs into a new transit outlet: electric-powered buses
 Capital Metro buses will spend more than 2 million hours on the streets this year, traveling about 30 million miles. At 4 miles per gallon, about what the fleet averages, the buses will burn roughly 7.5 million gallons of diesel. Given that massive use of hydrocarbons, here and elsewhere, the dream for years in transit circles has been to...

Posted: 10 days ago

Capital Metro buses will spend more than 2 million hours on the streets this year, traveling about 30 million miles. At 4 miles per gallon, about what the fleet averages, the buses will burn roughly 7.5 million gallons of diesel. Given that massive use of hydrocarbons, here and elsewhere, the dream for years in transit circles has been to...
UPDATE: Most Capital Metro buses pulled after fire have been inspected and cleared, officials say
 4:20 p.m. update: All but three of the 28 Capital Metro buses that were pulled from the road after a fire Tuesday morning have been inspected and cleared, the company said in a statement. Cap Metro began inspecting the coach-style buses, which run commuter routes from downtown Austin to suburban areas, after one caught fire on the U...

Posted: 14 days ago

4:20 p.m. update: All but three of the 28 Capital Metro buses that were pulled from the road after a fire Tuesday morning have been inspected and cleared, the company said in a statement. Cap Metro began inspecting the coach-style buses, which run commuter routes from downtown Austin to suburban areas, after one caught fire on the U...
Wear: Scooters to keep rolling as city backs off locking requirement
 Well, that was close. But on Wednesday, if you want to go to the Scoot Inn, you will still be able to rent a scooter to get there. City of Austin transportation officials have spent the summer doing a bit of a dance, both with the dockless scooter companies and, for what it’s worth, with me. What inspired this bureaucratic soft-shoe...

Posted: 17 days ago

Well, that was close. But on Wednesday, if you want to go to the Scoot Inn, you will still be able to rent a scooter to get there. City of Austin transportation officials have spent the summer doing a bit of a dance, both with the dockless scooter companies and, for what it’s worth, with me. What inspired this bureaucratic soft-shoe...
Austin airport growth sparks traffic crunch in terminal’s arrival lanes
 Add to the list of Austin traffic quagmires an unlikely spot: the arrival level at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. When a lot of planes are landing during a short interval at the airport — typically late morning, late afternoon and after about 8 p.m. — the line of cars waiting to pick up arriving passengers on the lower...

Posted: 20 days ago

Add to the list of Austin traffic quagmires an unlikely spot: the arrival level at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. When a lot of planes are landing during a short interval at the airport — typically late morning, late afternoon and after about 8 p.m. — the line of cars waiting to pick up arriving passengers on the lower...
Wear: Cap Metro shuttles could hint at Austin’s transit future
 The future, or at least one possible squatty version of it, arrives on a downtown Austin street Monday. Capital Metro and a private company will begin two weeks of testing of driverless electric shuttles on a 1.1-mile route. The podlike vehicles, sort of a cross between a VW bug and a small bus, will run both directions on Third Street, between...

Posted: 23 days ago

The future, or at least one possible squatty version of it, arrives on a downtown Austin street Monday. Capital Metro and a private company will begin two weeks of testing of driverless electric shuttles on a 1.1-mile route. The podlike vehicles, sort of a cross between a VW bug and a small bus, will run both directions on Third Street, between...
Appellate court ends fight over Texas 45 Southwest, MoPac
 A several-year legal fight to stop construction of two highway projects in Southwest Austin came to an end Tuesday when a federal appellate court ruled against the challenge from environmental activists. Texas 45 Southwest and the “MoPac intersections” project, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, received proper environmental...

Posted: 27 days ago

A several-year legal fight to stop construction of two highway projects in Southwest Austin came to an end Tuesday when a federal appellate court ruled against the challenge from environmental activists. Texas 45 Southwest and the “MoPac intersections” project, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, received proper environmental...
TxDOT to receive $1.1 billion boost from surging oil business, economy
 Texas highways will get a $1.1 billion boost over the next year from the state’s vibrant economy, officials say, with much of that additional funding flowing from the booming oil and gas industry. The added money for the Texas Department of Transportation — generated by taxes dedicated to the agency’s highway fund as a result...

Posted: 30 days ago

Texas highways will get a $1.1 billion boost over the next year from the state’s vibrant economy, officials say, with much of that additional funding flowing from the booming oil and gas industry. The added money for the Texas Department of Transportation — generated by taxes dedicated to the agency’s highway fund as a result...
Wear: Texas’ frozen gas tax thawed by Propositions 1 and 7
 Perhaps Texas’ mummified gas tax can just stay in the crypt. Periodically through the many years I’ve been on this beat, I’ve written about Texas’ 20-cents-a-gallon gas tax and how it hasn’t been increased by the Texas Legislature since 1991. So has the Statesman’s editorial page. And the message,...

Posted: 30 days ago

Perhaps Texas’ mummified gas tax can just stay in the crypt. Periodically through the many years I’ve been on this beat, I’ve written about Texas’ 20-cents-a-gallon gas tax and how it hasn’t been increased by the Texas Legislature since 1991. So has the Statesman’s editorial page. And the message,...
Shoal Creek trail plan would trade 4 miles of parking for bike lanes
 A plan to extend the Shoal Creek trail from its current northern end at West 38th Street includes removing parking from Shoal Creek Boulevard’s west side along a four-mile stretch and using that asphalt for a two-way bike lane. The 122-page proposal released in mid-June, the fruit of a yearlong study by the Shoal Creek Conservancy,...

11:39 PM Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2018

A plan to extend the Shoal Creek trail from its current northern end at West 38th Street includes removing parking from Shoal Creek Boulevard’s west side along a four-mile stretch and using that asphalt for a two-way bike lane. The 122-page proposal released in mid-June, the fruit of a yearlong study by the Shoal Creek Conservancy,...
Shoal Creek trail plan would trade 4 miles of parking for bike lanes
 A plan to extend the Shoal Creek trail from its current northern end at West 38th Street includes removing parking from Shoal Creek Boulevard’s west side along a four-mile stretch and using that asphalt for a two-way bike lane. The 122-page proposal released in mid-June, the fruit of a yearlong study by the Shoal Creek Conservancy,...

10:29 PM Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2018

A plan to extend the Shoal Creek trail from its current northern end at West 38th Street includes removing parking from Shoal Creek Boulevard’s west side along a four-mile stretch and using that asphalt for a two-way bike lane. The 122-page proposal released in mid-June, the fruit of a yearlong study by the Shoal Creek Conservancy,...
Wear: Interested in dining on Amtrak? Better get it while it’s hot
 The idea of taking a cross-country Amtrak trip, booking the sleeper compartment and all, is something my wife and I kick around from time to time. It hasn’t risen to bucket list status, but a train tour is on whatever you’d call that other, lesser list of wanna-do’s. And part of the appeal, based mostly on movies (think...

9:14 PM Friday, Jul. 06, 2018

The idea of taking a cross-country Amtrak trip, booking the sleeper compartment and all, is something my wife and I kick around from time to time. It hasn’t risen to bucket list status, but a train tour is on whatever you’d call that other, lesser list of wanna-do’s. And part of the appeal, based mostly on movies (think...
Wear: Interested in dining on Amtrak? Better get it while it’s hot
 The idea of taking a cross-country Amtrak trip, booking the sleeper compartment and all, is something my wife and I kick around from time to time. It hasn’t risen to bucket list status, but a train tour is on whatever you’d call that other, lesser list of wanna-do’s. And part of the appeal, based mostly on movies (think...

9:04 PM Friday, Jul. 06, 2018

The idea of taking a cross-country Amtrak trip, booking the sleeper compartment and all, is something my wife and I kick around from time to time. It hasn’t risen to bucket list status, but a train tour is on whatever you’d call that other, lesser list of wanna-do’s. And part of the appeal, based mostly on movies (think...
Bond project includes replacing obsolete bridges at Red Bud Isle
 The two low-slung bridges, joined by Red Bud Isle in the middle and leading to the Colorado River’s east and west banks, stand as a relic from another time. The 68-year-old bridges’ two lanes and slender sidewalk on the south side, measuring just 28½ feet in width, are stressed by a daily load of 13,000 cars, some nervy...

10:21 PM Thursday, Jul. 05, 2018

The two low-slung bridges, joined by Red Bud Isle in the middle and leading to the Colorado River’s east and west banks, stand as a relic from another time. The 68-year-old bridges’ two lanes and slender sidewalk on the south side, measuring just 28½ feet in width, are stressed by a daily load of 13,000 cars, some nervy...
Taxi rationing could be pulling up at Austin’s congested airport
 The line forms early in the lot off Rental Car Road, usually not long after first light. The 100 to 200 taxis — yellow, blue, white, but mostly lime green these days — are ready for another long day of waiting at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Many of the cabbies will spend most of 12 hours here, an investment of time...

7:37 PM Sunday, Jul. 01, 2018

The line forms early in the lot off Rental Car Road, usually not long after first light. The 100 to 200 taxis — yellow, blue, white, but mostly lime green these days — are ready for another long day of waiting at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Many of the cabbies will spend most of 12 hours here, an investment of time...
Taxi rationing could be pulling up at Austin’s congested airport
 The line forms early in the lot off Rental Car Road, usually not long after first light. The 100 to 200 taxis — yellow, blue, white, but mostly lime green these days — are ready for another long day of waiting at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Many of the cabbies will spend most of 12 hours here, an investment of time...

5:00 AM Sunday, Jul. 01, 2018

The line forms early in the lot off Rental Car Road, usually not long after first light. The 100 to 200 taxis — yellow, blue, white, but mostly lime green these days — are ready for another long day of waiting at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Many of the cabbies will spend most of 12 hours here, an investment of time...
Wear: Area transportation shifts over 15 years cover lot of new ground
 The more things change with Central Texas transportation … well, the more they change. Come August, I will have been on the Statesman transportation beat for 15 years. No term limits, not here. And while some things have stayed more or less the same — the combined state and federal gas tax has never moved from 38.4 cents a gallon...

9:06 PM Friday, Jun. 29, 2018

The more things change with Central Texas transportation … well, the more they change. Come August, I will have been on the Statesman transportation beat for 15 years. No term limits, not here. And while some things have stayed more or less the same — the combined state and federal gas tax has never moved from 38.4 cents a gallon...
In a bid to boost taxis, City Council deregulates Austin’s cab rates
 Cab fares in Austin will no longer be set by the city government, the Austin City Council decided Thursday. Instead, the city’s four taxi franchises will be able to set their own fares and change them in response to the market, much like the ride-hailing service companies that have cut deeply into cabs’ market share in Austin...

10:31 PM Thursday, Jun. 28, 2018

Cab fares in Austin will no longer be set by the city government, the Austin City Council decided Thursday. Instead, the city’s four taxi franchises will be able to set their own fares and change them in response to the market, much like the ride-hailing service companies that have cut deeply into cabs’ market share in Austin...
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