EoT: We Can Drive 85!
Each week, Eyes on Texas looks at life in Texas through the eyes of those outside our state.
Many media outlets around the country were fascinated, if maybe a bit envious and frightened, of Texas’ newest claim to fame.
Come November, the Texas Department of Transportation will allow motorists on a stretch of new road between Austin to Seguin to drive 85 miles an hour – the highest official speed limit in the United States. USA Today and The Los Angeles Times focused on the safety angle (or lack thereof). CBS News, in two pieces, wondered if the road is a “potential killer.”
The New York Daily News feature from Agence France-Presse compared the Texas stretch to the German Autobahn. NPR, which linked to a San Antonio Express-News piece and an older Austin-American Statesman column, notes that the new toll road (built by a Spanish company) will also generate big bucks for the state, with a premium for setting the speed limit at 85 mph.
This story brought out the Texan in just about every journalist, with a Tallahassee column (via AOL) even quoting lyrics from “The Eyes of Texas.” But The New York Times went whole hog with anecdotes about cowboy hats, pickup trucks and a revival of then Lt. Governor Rick Perry’s infamous reaction when stopped for speeding in 2000.
Lost in the national coverage is the reality that Central Texas is not exactly wide-open West Texas. The San Antonio piece quoted an Austin man “who regularly drives to Seguin to visit family” and “said he’ll likely use the road for convenience and the pleasure of driving fast.” But a Houston Chronicle reader points out: “Is anyone really in that big of a hurry to get to Seguin Texas?”
Welcome to Reporting Texas, a digital media initiative from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Reporting Texas accepts submissions from undergraduate and graduate students throughout the university, promoting engagement in the digital age of journalism.
Supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and its Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education, Reporting Texas serves four primary goals: To showcase the best work of our University of Texas at Austin undergraduate and graduate students; to offer quality, multimedia reporting to local, state, and national news outlets; to experiment with new approaches in journalism education; and to combine aspects of community reporting with multimedia resources.
These efforts grow out of two previous initiatives at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism – CapLink and the Capital News Service – in which student journalists provided free public affairs reporting to community newspapers around Texas. In that spirit, Reporting Texas offers all content free of charge to all news outlets as long as we are credited for our work.
Reporting Texas focuses on unique and often hidden stories, using text, photos, audio, and video to provide views of in-depth people and places rarely seen in the news.
Also, you can check us out on Twitter.