Opinion: US Senator Reports On Automobile Privacy Threat
US Senator Ed Markey condemns automobile manufacturers for privacy invasions promoted by the federal government.
February 13, 2015
Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) on Monday released a report on automotive privacy highlighting the failure of vehicle manufacturers to ensure the highest levels of security and privacy. The report examined the measures industry has taken to prevent electronic intrusion and the way companies gather and treat sensitive personal information. Markey concluded that government intervention may be appropriate.
"New standards are needed to plug security and privacy gaps in our cars and trucks," Markey's news release explained. "We need to work with the industry and cyber-security experts to establish clear rules of the road to ensure the safety and privacy of 21st-century American drivers."
Terrific article on MPOs, their importance, and why they need to be fixed.
Transportation Reform: Restore Local Control, Accountability
By Ross Kesceg
February 16, 2015
Before throwing more tax money at a misunderstood transportation crisis, the legislature should first maximize the effectiveness of existing funds. But in addition to placing restrictions on how tax dollars are used, the legislature should also restrict the ability of regional governments to undermine sound policy.
The culprits behind most of Texas’ non-road transportation waste are Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). They are federally mandated planning bureaucracies that have taken control of “voluntary” regional governments created by the legislature, such as the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG). COGs claim to help local governments coordinate projects, but in reality, they are an unnecessary layer of government one-step removed from voters that takes power away from locally elected officials.
Government outsourcing goes horribly wrong more often than not. Here are a few representative horror stories
For decades we’ve been subjected to constant propaganda that government is inefficient, bureaucratic and expensive. We’re told that the answer is to “privatize,” or “outsource” government functions to private businesses and they will do things more efficiently and everyone comes out ahead. As a result we have experienced decades of privatization of government functions.
So how has this wave of privatization worked out? Has privatization saved taxpayers money and improved services to citizens? Simple answer: of course not. If a company can make a profit doing something the government had been doing, it means that we're losing out one way or another. It’s simple math. And the result of falling for the privatization scam is that taxpayers have been fleeced, services to citizens have been cut way back and communities have been made poorer. But the companies that convinced governments to hand over public functions have gotten rich off of the deal. How is this a surprise?
To read the rest of the story, click here.
3 lawmakers from Collin County take aim at toll roads with 9 new bills
By Brandon Formby
February 27, 2015
Dallas Morning News
North Texans with toll road fatigue have found champions in the Texas House. Reps. Jeff Leach, Scott Sanford and Matt Shaheen are pushing a series of nine bills that aim to dismantle the bureaucratic and financial mechanisms that have paved the way for a litany of toll projects in the state.
In North Texas alone, most highway projects under construction or in the works include some sort of tolling component. And because many involve private developers expecting profits, drivers are slated to continue paying tolls long after construction costs are recouped.
Despite overwhelming opposition by the citizenry, this county judge reverses himself to side with special interests over his own constituents.
Grimes County Judge Expresses New Support For Highway 249 Toll Road
By Clay Falls
February 20, 2015
GRIMES COUNTY, Texas - Grimes County Commissioners are continuing to oppose plans for a future toll road but the County Judge is now seeing more reasons to support the project.
Last week county commissioners voted four to one in support of a resolution opposing the Highway 249 also known as the Aggie Highway.
County Judge Ben Leman told us Friday he does think a future highway like this is inevitable.
He says TxDOT's new plan to spend $2 million on feeder roads for the project would be a benefit to Grimes county.
He told us he's disappointed but not discouraged by the commissioners' resolution.
Just do a simple graph that plots the rise in education spending versus road spending and you can’t even begin to make the argument Dick Lavine made during his testimony before the Senate Transportation Committee. Hands down, education and public health eat up over 80% of the budget. Roads ranges between 4%-10%. There is no ‘underinvestment’ in schools.
There’s an overzealous, loud and demanding education bureaucracy that eats up the dollars that should be sent to the classroom. There are 3 staffers for every teacher. But by starving the classroom (the part parents and students see), they can continue to claim that more money is needed for schools. Teachers should demand an end to the bureaucrats stealing their money and refusing to put money into teacher salaries and directly into the classroom (not the buildings) - but sadly, they’d rather use teachers as a political prop as an excuse to keep eating up the budget and starving other core functions of government, like roads.
State senate panel advances road funding plan
By Dug Begley | February 25, 2015
A state senate committee moved forward Wednesday with a plan to use half the revenue from motor vehicle sales taxes for road improvements, but some senators expressed concern about unintended consequences.
The plan, sponsored by Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, and with support from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, passed the Senate Transportation Committee 8-1 after two hours of discussion. Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, cast the lone dissenting vote.
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