Nearly two years ago, I hosted more than 100 constituents and community leaders for “Texas 101 Day,” to discuss acute issues impacting Arlington and Grand Prairie. By the end of day, working together, we identified several key topics we believed were not receiving adequate attention and began to brainstorm potential solutions to address these needs.
The most important key to success is for citizens, the business community, Faith leadership, non-profits and all levels of government to work together to affect change in our community.
As a result of that first meeting, we formed our Texas 101 Task Force focused on four key areas: healthcare, predatory lending, transportation and local economy and jobs.
Fast forward to today. We are seeing meaningful movement on some of these key issues, and I am proud that our Task Force members have been involved in these efforts.
Last week, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on the final version of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority’s (The T) Master Plan. Among other things, this plan addresses the lack of public transit in Arlington.
A few months ago, the Texas 101 Task Force was briefed by The T’s leadership and provided input regarding the draft plan and the transit needs in our community. Now included in the T’s proposal are recommended Rapid Bus routes throughout Arlington and District 101 along Pioneer Parkway and Arkansas Road to Great Southwest Parkway, Cooper Street to HWY 287, and a route down Matlock Road to Tarrant County College’s Southeast Campus. I appreciate that The T incorporated some of the feedback that Task Force members and I provided into this plan.
Of course, it only gets harder from here. Now that there’s a plan, we need to work with local leaders and our institutions of higher education, including UT Arlington and Tarrant County College, to figure out how to make this plan — or something similar — a reality.
In November, the City of Arlington became the 29th Texas municipality to approve an ordinance to crack down on predatory payday and auto-title lenders by limiting loan amounts, as well as loan frequency. My office provided the City with legislative and regulatory background at both the state and federal levels as it considered this ordinance and our Task Force joined local faith leaders, consumer organizations and others to actively support this important policy.
Right now, Grand Prairie is considering a similar ordinance, which has now been passed in 34 municipalities, covering 9.3 million Texans. Our Task Force is focused on this effort, which will help protect Grand Prairie families from getting trapped in a cycle of debt.
I want to thank our Task Force members and my staff for their hard work on these issues. In a short amount of time, our Task Force has been effective, but there’s still much more to do. In order to have the most impact, we need your voice. Contact me by emailing email@example.com to get involved. Also, watch your email or my Facebook page for news about our 2016 Texas 101 Day.
PS: Mark your calendar for Saturday, Saturday, April 9. From 10:00 to 11:30am, I will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting at the Arlington Municipal Airport, 5000 S Collins St, Arlington, TX 76018. For more details, call 817-459-2800. All are welcome and I hope to see you there.