Five stories that have North Texas talking: Fort Worth moves on the D-FW high-speed rail project; Asian voter turnout in Texas surged in 2016; today’s Houston is tomorrow’s America; and more.
The Fort Worth City Council is accelerating plans for a high-speed rail line to Dallas. The project is called the DFW Core Express, and it’s coordinated by the North Central Texas Council of Governments. On Tuesday, the city council approved the creation of a local government corporation with Dallas to own and manage the rail line, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
The Dallas City Council is expected to approve the corporation by the end of the month, Jay Chapa, Fort Worth assistant city manager, tells the Star-Telegram. “This is a step in a long series of steps that would have to occur, but it sets up the framework for the governing entity for the creation, funding and actual construction of the line,” he says.
There have also been discussions of including a stop in Arlington and adding the city to the corporation with Fort Worth and Dallas. A $15 million environmental impact study of the possible 30-to-40-mile route is expected to be completed next year, the Star-Telegram reports. If the process gets moving, the line would be up and running by 2023 or 2024 at the earliest. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- Despite high expectations, Hispanic voter turnout last November in Texas was lower than it was in 2004. Turnout among Texas Hispanics eligible to vote in 2016 increased to 40.5 percent from 38.8 percent during the 2012 presidential election, according to U.S. Census data. However, turnout among Asian voters jumped up from 42.4 percent to 47.3 percent — an increase of 124,000 more votes in 2016, The Texas Tribune reports. Asian voters were credited for helping flip the reliably-Republican Fort Bend County into Democrats' favor in 2016. [The Texas Tribune]
- Houston “is a roadmap to what U.S. cities will look like in the coming decades.” The Los Angeles Times explains how Houston has become the most diverse city in America. “Houston boomed through the mid-20th century, thanks to the oil bonanza, and most of those who came to get rich were white. Large numbers of Vietnamese refugees began arriving in the 1970s, and after an oil collapse in 1982, they were followed by an influx of Latinos driven by cheap housing and employment opportunities. Whites, meanwhile, started drifting out.” Read the full story. [LA Times]
- KERA’s Think team wraps up its week in D.C. with the question: How do race, ethnicity and culture intersect? And how do these distinctions affect the ways in which we interact with one another? Finding the answers to these questions is the mission of NPR’s Code Switch. Host Krys Boyd will talk about reporting on race with members Gene Demby, Adrian Florido and Juleyka Lantigua-Williams. Catch the interview at 1 p.m. on KERA 90.1 and public radio stations across Texas — or download the podcast. [Think]
- Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that could disqualify transgender athletes if their hormone therapy endangers opponents. In February, Mack Beggs won a Texas girls' state wrestling championship. Critics said his steroid therapy treatment gave him an unfair advantage. The Associated Press reports: “Under NCAA rules, athletes transitioning from female to male are allowed to compete on men's teams while taking testosterone, but can't compete on women's teams.” But Texas requires athletes to compete against the gender listed on their birth certificate. [The Associated Press]