Sunday, May 12, 2019

HTX tops for millennials, startups, and middle-class home affordability; Houspitality support, highway vs. rail cost-benefit

So a sad week here at Houston Strategies: I have a draft post where I keep ideas for future posts.  It had gotten quite long over the last 14 years, with tons of good thoughts and links whenever I had time to get to them.  Well, that all came to a crashing end last week when I discovered a Blogger quirk: if you open a post, paste in some content, realize it's not formatted right and accidentally hit Undo twice, it *wipes out the entire post* then auto-saves the blank version (and unlike Google Docs, Blogger does not keep a version history of posts).  Then I unwisely compounded the error trying to close the browser tab before the auto-save instead of just hitting the redo button.  Regardless, it's all gone now - 14 years of potential post ideas... 😳😢

Moving on to this week's items... lots of kudos for Houston this week!
"The region also has a reputation for welcoming newcomers, whether they’re from New York or New Zealand...a global city, with 90 consulates, two international airports, the second busiest seaport in the nation, and nearly 1,000 foreign-owned companies with HTX ops"
"Houston ranked among the top three cities in several specific areas, including diversity, ease of meeting new people, fair income taxes, everyday expenses, salary potential and amenities for children."
More details here, including some cool comparative graphs (hat tip to George). Houston is a pretty dominant #1, notably ahead of #2 Atlanta and #3 Dallas in the overall value graph (also notably ahead of #5 Austin!).
"In 2004, Denver-area voters approved a sale tax increase to pay for “FasTracks,” a plan to build 119 miles of rail transit lines in the metropolitan area. In 2008, California voters approved the sale of bonds to pay for the construction of a 520-mile high-speed rail line between Los Angeles/Anaheim and San Francisco/San Jose. FasTracks is within a metropolitan area and high-speed rail is supposed to connect several metropolitan areas, yet there are a lot of similarities between these two projects. 
Both rely on technologies that were rendered obsolete years before they received voter approval. The agencies sponsoring both projects ignored early warning signals that the projects were not cost effective. Both had large cost overruns. Advocates of both lied to voters about the benefits and costs of the projects. Due to poor planning, both projects remain incomplete. Despite the failure of the projects to date, both have adherents who hope to complete them."

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