Samuel King | KUT

Transportation Reporter

Samuel comes to Austin from Kansas City, where he covered Missouri state politics for member station KCUR. Before that, he spent 14 years in television news in markets like Minneapolis, New York City and Tyler, Texas. Samuel has frequently covered transportation and mobility issues in cities large and small. He has won Associated Press awards for spot news coverage and investigative reporting.

A native of Queens, New York, Samuel also spent time growing up in Alabama. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University.

Ways to Connect

Photos of Ahmaud Arbery and Michael Ramos are displayed during a vigil on Wednesday.
Michael Minasi / KUT

A small group of pastors and community members prayed for peace and justice during a vigil in East Austin Wednesday night. The solemn gathering was a contrast to protesters chanting around the Austin Police Department a mile away. 

The Red Line station downtown
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro is closely monitoring data to determine how and where to ramp up transit service that was cut back because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some MetroExpress commuter routes were restored earlier this week, but the bulk of Cap Metro’s bus routes remain on a Sunday schedule.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks from the State Operations Center on Feb. 27.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Read this story in English.

Mientras más negocios en Texas empiezan a reabrir, el gobernador Greg Abbott dijo que el cuidado de niños es esencial y anunció que se permitirá a las guarderías reabrir inmediatamente.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks from the State Operations Center on Feb. 27.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As more businesses begin to reopen, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said child care is essential and announced that providers would be allowed to reopen immediately.

The governor also said at a news conference Monday that bars would be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity starting Friday. Restaurants will be allowed to expand to 50% then, too, he said. These limits will not apply to outdoor patios where customers can maintain safe distances.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro unveiled plans in early March for transit expansion in Austin, with additional rail and bus lines, along with a downtown subway-like tunnel. The plan was intended to help congestion stay manageable as the region was projected to double in population over the next 25 years.

Courtesy of Felicia Dodson Hill

Maurice Dotson died April 17, weeks after contracting COVID-19. The 51-year old worked as a nurse’s aide at West Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in South Austin, and that’s where his family believes he contracted the coronavirus.

Southwest Airlines planes prepare to depart from Austin Airport on Feb. 21, 2019.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A team of investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration was sent to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after a man was found dead on a runway, possibly struck by a plane. 

911 calls indicate West Oaks Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Southwest Austin has had a cluster of COVID-19 cases.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Click here to read this story in English

"Tengo un residente. Su temperatura está subiendo y su oxígeno está bajando bastante, por lo que el médico quiere sacarla[del hogar]", dice quien llamó desde el Riverside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center en una llamada al 911 el 21 de abril. "Ella es COVID-positiva. ... Tiene una temperatura de 102. Su nivel de oxígeno está bajando".

911 calls indicate West Oaks Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Southwest Austin has had a cluster of COVID-19 cases.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

"I have a resident. Her temperature is going up and her oxygen is dropping quite low, so the doctor wants to send her out," the caller from Riverside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center says in a 911 call April 21. "She’s COVID-positive. ... She’s running a temp of 102. Her oxygen level’s dropping."

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A funding gap for the I-35 Capital Express project in Austin got a lot smaller Thursday, as the Texas Transportation Commission voted to allocate $3.4 billion as part of TxDOT’s 10-year transportation plan.

Michael Minasi / KUT

Staff working at multiple facilities is contributing to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the region’s nursing homes, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said Wednesday.

The Texas Capitol
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a plan to gradually reopen aspects of the state's economy, with a goal of allowing Texans to return to work while containing the spread of COVID-19. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott said the daily trend line for the number of coronavirus cases in Travis County is “the type of line you want to see.”

Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin’s streets are far less congested these days as people stay home to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Law enforcement is worried some drivers are taking empty streets as an invitation to speed, though – with dangerous results.

A Capital Metro bus displays a public health message to wash hands.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro's ridership has plunged by more than 60% since stay-at-home orders were put in place in response to COVID-19. But that means several thousand passengers are still riding the bus each day.

Those riders face a different experience than what existed just a few weeks ago. Routes have been cut to account for the drop in ridership, leaving some buses with more passengers and others with fewer.

A heart with "ATX" inside on the Fairmont Hotel
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Stay-at-home orders are expected to be issued in the City of Austin, Travis County and Williamson County on Tuesday in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said. The orders would require all nonessential businesses to have employees work from home and further restrict other gatherings.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro will be running fewer buses and trains on many routes starting Wednesday and is developing financial contingency plans in response to COVID-19. To protect drivers, Cap Metro is also asking passengers to enter buses through the rear door, unless they’re paying with cash or need the ramp.

Gov. Greg Abbott, seen here at a press conference last year, says there will be an exponential increase in the number of people who test positive for COVID-19.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texans should prepare for an exponential increase in the number of people who test positive for COVID-19, Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday. 

City Council members and the Capital Metro Board of Directors meet discuss how to pay for plans to expand transit in the city.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Now that Capital Metro has revealed its preferred plan to expand transit in Austin, the question becomes how to pay for it. The Capital Metro board and Austin City Council tackled that question Monday during a joint work session.

An artist's rendering of a light-rail station platform.
Capital Metro

Capital Metro is going big when it comes to transit expansion in Austin. On Monday, its Project Connect team will not only recommend the construction of two light rail lines, but also a downtown tunnel to help them move along faster.

Bernie Sanders supporters watch election returns at a party at Central Machine Works on Tuesday.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

After a tight race with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden is projected to win the Democratic presidential primary in Texas. The win carries 228 delegates.

A Capital Metro bus
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A tentative labor deal has been reached between the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1091 and MV Transportation, which handles bus operations and maintenance services for Capital Metro.

A construction crew works on the site of the future Capital Metro downtown station.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The construction site for the new downtown station for Capital Metro's Red Line sits in a busy area near the intersection of Fourth Street and Red River Street, close to the Austin Convention Center.

That area is going to get even busier in a few weeks, when South by Southwest kicks off March 13.

A road sign says: "You're not a candle...Don't drive lit."
Photo: Gabriel C. Pérez/Illustration: Matt Largey / KUT

Traffic is one constant of life in Austin. But every so often, there’s something that breaks the monotony of brake lights: a sign reminding you that "You’re not a candle, so don’t drive lit" or "Designate a driver BE-VO the game."

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is set to recommend a number of rules regarding scooters on Austin’s trail system, such as speed limits and geofencing to keep scooters off of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail.

Pedestrians cross the street in downtown Austin.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A local transportation group hopes a first-of-its-kind study encourages fewer employees to drive alone to work in downtown Austin.

A biker rides in a bike lane down Guadalupe Street.
Julia Reihs / KUT

For years, the City of Austin often waited for complaints before ticketing drivers who parked in bike lanes. Now, that policy is changing: The Austin Transportation Department said Tuesday it plans to increase staffing to eventually dedicate two officers per shift to actively enforce the rules.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As leaders consider how to fund an expansion of Austin's transit system, they've determined borrowing money through bonds may not be enough. So they're considering whether to ask voters to increase taxes to help pay for it.

Vehicles drive over the railroad crossing in the Rosewood neighborhood of East Austin.
Julia Reihs / KUT

The Austin Transportation Department has identified several railroad crossings in need of safety improvements for cyclists and pedestrians. The findings come after a citywide review requested by the City Council in September based on recommendations from the city’s Pedestrian Advisory Council and Bicycle Advisory Council.

A red-painted "contraflow" lane on Guadalupe.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It’s been a few months since buses started going against the flow of traffic on a small stretch of Guadalupe Street near UT Austin. The lane the buses use is painted red to denote that it’s off-limits to cars. Painting the lane require federal approval – and it wasn’t easy to get.

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