TRANSPORTATION

Above: Austin City Councilman Chris Riley joins supporters of legalizing vehicle-for-hire apps Uber and Lyft at a rally Thursday outside of a city council meeting. Below: Supporters of traditional taxi companies sit at the same city council meeting as the council considers an ordinance for vehicle-for-hire apps.
Above: Austin City Councilman Chris Riley joins supporters of legalizing vehicle-for-hire apps Uber and Lyft at a rally Thursday outside of a city council meeting. Below: Supporters of traditional taxi companies sit at the same city council meeting as the council considers an ordinance for vehicle-for-hire apps.

Austin Mulls Regulations for Uber, Lyft, as Debate Spreads to Other Cities

Over the next year, at least half a dozen other Texas cities are likely to tackle the same thorny debate that's under way in Austin over how to regulate vehicle-for-hire apps like Uber and Lyft while maintaining traditional taxi services.

Austin Mulls Regulations for Uber, Lyft, as Debate Spreads to Other Cities

Above: Austin City Councilman Chris Riley joins supporters of legalizing vehicle-for-hire apps Uber and Lyft at a rally Thursday outside of a city council meeting. Below: Supporters of traditional taxi companies sit at the same city council meeting as the council considers an ordinance for vehicle-for-hire apps.
Above: Austin City Councilman Chris Riley joins supporters of legalizing vehicle-for-hire apps Uber and Lyft at a rally Thursday outside of a city council meeting. Below: Supporters of traditional taxi companies sit at the same city council meeting as the council considers an ordinance for vehicle-for-hire apps.

Over the next year, at least half a dozen other Texas cities are likely to tackle the same thorny debate that's under way in Austin over how to regulate vehicle-for-hire apps like Uber and Lyft while maintaining traditional taxi services.

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Texas' Top 100 Congested Corridors

Analysis: Getting State's Permission to Do Business

A Tesla Model S. The California-based electric automaker had considered Texas for its $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory. The company is also hoping to sell cars in Texas but does not have required franchise dealerships, as state law requires.
A Tesla Model S. The California-based electric automaker had considered Texas for its $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory. The company is also hoping to sell cars in Texas but does not have required franchise dealerships, as state law requires.

When lawmakers are not working on all of the things you hear about — budgets, education, immigration and so on — they are often refereeing fights between businesses. And some of next year's battles are already shaping up.

Van de Putte: Use Transportation Money for Transporation

A damaged portion of the IH 37 frontage road, south of  FM 99 in Live Oak County, Texas on Friday, August 16, 2013. The road is on a list of roads that the Texas Department of Transportation has announced will be converted to gravel because the agency lacks funds to keep them maintained at a safe level.
A damaged portion of the IH 37 frontage road, south of FM 99 in Live Oak County, Texas on Friday, August 16, 2013. The road is on a list of roads that the Texas Department of Transportation has announced will be converted to gravel because the agency lacks funds to keep them maintained at a safe level.

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, pledged on Wednesday to stop using money intended for transportation for other programs. 

High-Speed Rail Firm's Chief: Proposed Line to Be Focus of Public Meetings

The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.
The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.

A proposed high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston, already the subject of a federal environmental review, will soon be the focus of public meetings in Texas, according to the president of the firm looking to build the line.

 

Austin Rail Plan Not Seen as Congestion Solution

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Capital Metro's current MetroRail line runs between downtown Austin and the northern suburb of Leander. A proposed 2014 bond measure could go toward expanding light rail in Austin if voters give the plan the green light.
Capital Metro's current MetroRail line runs between downtown Austin and the northern suburb of Leander. A proposed 2014 bond measure could go toward expanding light rail in Austin if voters give the plan the green light.

As the debate over rail projects takes place on state and local levels, Austin voters will weigh in this year on a ballot measure that would allow the city to borrow money toward expanding its light-rail network. But nobody is touting the plan as a clear solution to the city's congestion.

Space Travel Companies Compete for NASA Contract

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, right, at the return of the Dragon spacecraft with NASA chief Charles Bolden, left, on June 13, 2012.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, right, at the return of the Dragon spacecraft with NASA chief Charles Bolden, left, on June 13, 2012.

Four private space travel companies, including two with ties to Texas, are competing for a NASA contract that will have them ferrying astronauts to space "like a taxi." NASA will announce the winner of the contract in the coming weeks.

The Bullet Train That Could Change Everything

The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.
The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.

In Texas, a new model for high-speed rail is hurtling forward. If successful, it could mark a turning point for the development of public transportation around the country.