The Lead: Lege Talks School Funding, F1 Traffic Mitigation Could Return for SXSW
Good morning. Hope you’re sick of winter weather, because the National Weather Service says Austin can expect a high in the upper 70s today – a full ten to fifteen degrees above normal.
Lead Story: Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams is asking lawmakers to wait until after a court ruling before they talk about restoring $5.4 billion that was cut from classrooms two years ago. More than 600 Texas school districts are suing the state, and a ruling isn’t expected until February.
Williams made his first appearance before the powerful Senate Finance Committee yesterday. He said the agency isn't "seeing dramatic numbers of schools" becoming unacceptable or losing accreditation since the cuts took effect. Gov. Rick Perry appointed Williams as the state's new education chief last year.
Shuttles Lauded for F1 Laps: Shuttle busses helped avert a traffic nightmare during the Formula 1 race in November. That’s what some city council members heard yesterday as part of a post-event analysis. Rodney Gonzales with the city's Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office says they shuttled 98,000 fans over the weekend.
“I think the significant amount of people shuttled led to a minimal impact on traffic,” Gonzales said. “There was a lot of talk and discussion about what would be the traffic impact that weekend. And I think a lot of us experienced that there really wasn’t much traffic impact.”
Council members suggested that transportation initiatives rolled out for F1 – including mobile ticketing for Cap Metro buses and a circulator loop running through downtown – could be rolled out for other big events like South by Southwest, which is less than two months away.
Investigation into DPS Shooting: The FBI is investigating a state trooper's fatal shooting of two Guatemalan immigrants.
A letter from DPS to the Texas Attorney General was copied to the Associated Press. The trooper shot from a helicopter at a fleeing pickup truck that authorities believed was carrying drugs back in October. The FBI had previously declined to confirm or deny they were investigating.