If you’re burned out on election news, I’ve got some totally unrelated items for you this week… 😉
The lead item is a bit of bad news: Texas Central high-speed rail is now looking for federal loan guarantees 🙁
“To repay $30 billion in loans, 6m annual riders would have to pay $255 a ticket on top of whatever it costs to operate the trains.”
Compare that to typical Dallas-Houston airfares of around $100, and the math does not look good at all…
“I think oil and gas is going to be with us a long time. And Houston has a comparative advantage against every other city in the world….
“If you get beyond the rhetoric about the energy transition and projections, what is it really about? It’s about infrastructure. It’s about an investment. It’s about technology. And it’s about scale. And those are all things that the energy industry is good at doing. So I think that Houston and the oil and gas companies here will be very much at the center of that. We’re starting from a point where 84 percent of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels today. So you’re talking about a huge infrastructure of investment and embedded activity that just doesn’t change overnight. If you’re going to power what is an $87 trillion economy that’s going to be a $100 trillion global economy, you’re going to need a lot of engineering and a lot of technology and a lot of equipment. And that’s what Houston and energy companies bring to the table….
“….if you did have big restrictions on our domestic oil industry, it would simply mean that we would import more oil. That’s because there’s still 280 million cars in the United States, almost all of which run on petroleum.”
Yet another reason to support an OPEC tariff over a fracking ban!
- City Journal: The “Transition from Oil” and Other Fairy Tales – Politicians promising a painless switch to renewables are deluding themselves—or more likely you. Excerpt:
“Americans generally don’t give much thought to energy policy, except when they stop at the local gas station for a fill-up. But if state and federal leaders who want to ban fracking and “transition” away from oil prevail, that complacency will change quickly.
You may not think about energy policy, but it thinks about you. Energy is the foundation of society. Everything—food, clothing, shelter, your iPhone, you name it—requires energy to produce. When it costs more to supply that energy, the cost of everything else increases. The OPEC oil embargoes in the 1970s, for example, ushered in an era of double-digit inflation.”
- “Houston is the American City of the Future,” Leads Texas in Global Cities Report
- WSJ reviews the new book, Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind’s Greatest Invention” and implicitly endorses Houston’s model:
“…the most dynamic cities have been like Tokyo in the post-war decades, in a state of restless metamorphosis.” He later adds that “messiness is something to be embraced, especially for a fast-growing city: it is a dynamic feature of urban development.”
- New innovation center in downtown Houston receives international recognition
- Reason: Implications of Remote Work for Transportation and Land Use. Key survey takeaways that mostly bode well for Houston and Texas:
- Remote work will increase migration in the U.S. Between 14 and 23 million Americans are planning to relocate as a result of businesses’ increasing acceptance of remote work. As a result, near-term migration rates could be three to four times what they normally are.
- Major cities will see the biggest out-migration. 20.6 percent of those planning to move are in a major city.
- People are seeking less-expensive housing. More than half (52.5 percent) of those planning to move are seeking a house significantly more affordable than their current home.
- People are moving beyond regular commute distances. 54.7 percent of planned moves are to locations more than two hours away from their current location, which is beyond most people’s tolerance for daily commuting.
- The highest-priced housing markets are taking the biggest hits. Rental data from apartments.com shows that the top 10 percent most-expensive markets are losing tenants at a much greater rate than markets in the bottom 10 percent.
Finally, I wanted to end with this really excellent professional video by the Greater Houston Partnership on our growing innovation and park ecosystems: Houston the City of the Future. Well worth watching.
This piece first appeared on Houston Strategies Blogspot.
Tory Gattis is a Founding Senior Fellow with the Center for Opportunity Urbanism and co-authored the original study with noted urbanist Joel Kotkin and others, creating a city philosophy around upward social mobility for all citizens as an alternative to the popular smart growth, new urbanism, and creative class movements. He is also an editor of the Houston Strategies blog.