TAB News Briefs
Sep. 17, 2015

Texas roads still need long-term funding
We all know Texas roads need help when it comes to congestion. Last year, voters approved sending $1.7 billion each year from the oil and gas tax to cover the cost of fixing the highways. This year, you can vote to add another $3 billion more a year with Proposition 7. At a committee hearing, lawmakers learned the allotted amount still isn’t enough. Texas A&M researchers said since more cars on the road and the increase in construction costs means we need twice as much money, another $4.3 billion.More

Builder confidence at a 10-year high
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index increased one point in September to 62, the highest level in 10 years. Two of the three components increased: The present sales indicator rose one point to 67, and the traffic indicator increased two points to 47. The measure of future sales declined two points to 68, albeit from a two-month sustained level of 70 not seen since late 2005. Regional three-month moving averages were up one point in the Midwest (to 59), the South and West (to 64). The Northeast fell one point to 46 but from a yearly high of 47.More

Cornyn: The federal government will not shut down
The Texas Tribune
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn dismissed the idea of a federal government shutdown, saying instead that elected officials had a duty to serve despite disagreements within Congress. "We were elected to govern, and we're going to do that. That's not to say it's easy," he said. "There have been a lot of disagreements particularly when it comes to spending, but we’re going to work our way through that."More

August NAHB Student Chapter of the Month, St. Philip's College
The St. Philip's College NAHB Student Chapter is sponsored by the Greater San Antonio Builders Association. The college students studying at St. Philip's are enrolled in building trades programs: HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Alternative Energy Sources and General Construction. Students and GSABA members recently participated in a strategic planning session facilitated by NAHB's HBA Advisory Services. Students had an opportunity to engage in a S.W.O.T. analysis and set goals and objectives for the current academic year in the areas of: Recruitment, Public Relations/Outreach, and Events/Activities. More

Report: America's aging voting machines could present election problems
Texas Public Radio
Voting machines around the United States are coming to the end of their useful lives. Breakdowns are increasingly common. Spare parts are difficult, if not impossible, to find. That could be a serious problem for next year's presidential elections. Allen County, Ohio, election director Ken Terry knows how bad things can get. In the last presidential election, he had to replace the Zip disks — a 1990s technology — in the main machine his county uses to count votes. The disks are no longer made. More

San Angelo Home Builders announce scholarship donation
San Angelo Home Builders announced a large donation to a state scholarship fund. Members of the San Angelo Home Builders Association are donating twenty five thousand dollars in an endowment to the Texas Builder Foundation. The organization provides scholarships for people in Texas who want to become building industry tradesmen. Over the past year The Texas Builder Foundation has received two hundred thousand dollars in donations for scholarships.More

2-car garage most common in new homes
The NAHB's Robert Dietz drives-through a new analysis of Census Survey of Construction data that shows nearly 62 percent of all single-family starts last year included a two-car garage. And then, there's the three-or-more-car garage, which another 23.5 percent of homes built last year possessed. After that, about 10 percent of homes were classified as "other" — meaning they had offstreet parking or a driveway or carport, but no garage.More

Austin's PSW takes the gold in Professional Builder contest
Austin Business Journal
Austin-based developer PSW Homes took home major honors in the Professional Builder Design Awards contest sponsored by Professional Builder magazine. PSW received the gold award in the Urban Infill category for its 609 West Lynn fourplex project west of downtown Austin. Only eight residential developments from around the country received the gold award. In all, 23 projects were recognized by the trade magazine.More

Challenges loom as Houston grows
Houston Chronicle
Houston is poised to change and grow rapidly in the coming years, as already is apparent from the sea of cranes building everything from downtown high-rises to mixed-use projects inside the 610 Loop to swaths of new housing near the Grand Parkway in the region's outlying areas. Projections show Houston's population outpacing Chicago's to become the third-largest city in the U.S. in the next decade.More

Small South Texas town upset about oil and gas waste dump
The Associated Press via FuelFix
The small South Texas town of Nordheim, population 307, is none too happy about the prospect of oil and gas drilling waste — enough to fill the Empire State Building — getting buried in its backyard. But the Texas Railroad Commission is likely to approve the controversial South Texas dump despite heavy opposition from elected officials who represent the area, echoing issues of local control that played out in the Capitol during the last legislative session. More

As Texas shifts how it pays for roads, tide moves away from toll projects
The Dallas Morning News
The end of toll roads in car-dependent, fast-growing North Texas is nowhere in sight. But signs continue to suggest that their proliferation could at least be slowing. The region's top transportation official said that planners are now rethinking whether two major Dallas County projects need toll lanes on their entire lengths in order to fund reconstruction work.More

DR Horton top Dallas-Fort Worth home builder at mid-year
Fort-Worth based D.R. Horton leads the North Texas metro region with twice the number of housing starts of the region's other large builders. D.R. Horton had 3,857 starts from the second quarter of 2014 to this year's second quarter 2015, while Highland Homes moved up to second place with 1,324 starts. The two largest builders were followed by Florida-based Lennar homes with 1,241, and Dallas-based First Texas homes at 1,109 starts.More

Nationalist group wants Texas secession on GOP primary ballot
The Texas Tribune
Texas already seceded once — in 1861, by popular vote in a statewide election. But the Texas Nationalist Movement wants a repeat a century and a half later, and thinks the March GOP primary is the place to start. The Nederland-based Texas independence group is circulating a petition aimed at getting a non-binding vote onto the GOP primary ballot over whether "the state of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation."More