Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dallas and Texas Must be More Visionary and Proactive

My column in Monday's Dallas Morning News deals with the apparent unwillingness of our city and county governments to put on a full court press to develop the infrastructure around a transportation hub located in southern Dallas County. This is a near perfect fit for the proposed public works stimulus package proposed by President-elect Barack Obama.

The Dallas Logistics Hub is focal point for the transportation of goods from Gulf of Mexico and Pacific areas through the North American trade route through Midwest and southeast United States. That along with the Trinity River Tollway and the Great Trinity River forest hold great promise for the redevelopment of working class and economically distressed areas of our city.

The Allen Group, an inland port developer and the principle investor in the DLH, projects that this hub will produce some 60,000 jobs, directly and indirectly. This as well as the aforementioned projects, hold great promise in the areas of education, entrepreneurship, environmental technology, construction and benefits to southern Dallas proper as well as suburbs to the south. Yet, as far as we know, Dallas' initial lobbying in anticipation of the new administrations stimulus package, efforts hardly mention plans to aid in the growth of this enterprise. This is not a bailout measure, mind you, it is simply the proper role of city and county government to address the infrastructure and environmental issues needed to expand the project. Until recently, the city and county proposals have been for the development of a 'Master Plan' which ultimately serve to delay support of this project for another 18 months.

I'll speak more to all of this later. In the meantime you can read the full column here.

Also, Don Baylor has written a very important op-ed column on Texas' need to reform its unemployment insurance policy. Don is a senior policy analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin. It's a great organization led by Scott McCown.

Texas in general, and Dallas in particular have weathered the economic storm that has hit the rest of our country so hard. But our leaders must be more visionary and much more proactive!

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