There’s less than two weeks until Texas 101 Day. To get ready, this week and next, I’m sending emails that will hit on the topics we’re going to discuss in detail that day. In advance of the event, I’d really like to hear your thoughts.
The first topic: pay day and auto title lending.
In the past few months, there’s been a lot of talk about these businesses, and for good reason. They are everywhere. In parts of Arlington and Grand Prairie, I’ve seen two on the same street corner.
How prevalent are they? According to the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner, the Texas agency with oversight over these businesses, there are close to 300 payday and auto title lenders in Tarrant County, 57 of them located in and around the district I represent.
These businesses hit the financially vulnerable harder in Texas than in any other state. In a report released last month, The Pew Charitable Trusts found that because Texas has no limit on how much a person can be charged for a loan, our state’s citizens pay a higher price than they would in any other state in the nation. They found that in Texas, to borrow $300 for a five-month period, on average, a person will be charged a 454 percent annual interest rate and it will ultimately cost the borrower $701.
AUSTIN — In reaction to the Texas Transportation Commission’s (TTC) approval of the SH360 project agreement, state Representative Chris Turner released the following statement:
“Today’s decision by the Texas Transportation Commission to approve the agreement is a significant milestone toward extending SH360 south. There are still a few steps left in the process, but once the project is complete, it will have an incredible impact on those who live and work in southeast Tarrant County’s fast growing communities.
“I commend the TTC and NTTA’s leadership for understanding the critical need for this project and for working together to ensure it is funded and constructed in a timely manner. Extending SH360 has been one of my top priorities since first taking office in 2009 and I look forward to seeing the continued progress and eventual completion of the project.”
ARLINGTON — In reaction to the North Texas Tollway Authority’s (NTTA) unanimous approval of the SH360 project agreement, state Representative Chris Turner (HD-101) released the following statement:
“Today’s action by the NTTA is a major milestone in the effort to extend SH360 south from Sublett Road/Camp Wisdom Road. I commend the NTTA for its leadership on this issue and look forward to the Texas Transportation Commission also approving this project.
“Extending SH360 has been one of my top priorities since first taking office in 2009. I know that once the project is complete, it will have a positive impact on the quality of life for families in southeast Tarrant County.”
In 2009 and 2010, Turner organized a stakeholders group that brought community leaders, officials from the NTTA, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), as well as officials from Arlington, Grand Prairie, Mansfield, and Tarrant County together in an effort to improve SH360.
The agreement approved today requires TxDOT to fund $294 million and the NTTA to be responsible for road operations and maintenance. The agreement must still be approved by the Texas Transportation Commission. Once that occurs, the NTTA anticipates the extension of SH360 will be completed in 2018.
I say it often — there are 150 members elected to the Texas House of Representatives, but just one who represents District 101. Although I regularly weigh in on issues that impact everyone in our state, and will continue to do so, my primary focus has been and always will be on working for Arlington and Grand Prairie.
Of course, our district isn’t really that different from the rest of Texas — it’s diverse and dynamic, made up of women and men who want a bright future for their families. It’s full of children who deserve the opportunity for a future of unlimited possibilities.
Like the rest of our state, in order for these families to have the opportunity to succeed, they shouldn’t have to do it alone. They should be able to count on their elected officials and their government to be a partner in securing those opportunities.
One area where that partnership is critical is healthcare. …