Friday PM February 18th, 2011

Senator Hutchison on ports and harbors bill…East End commercial development…American Airlines hiring more flight attendants…


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Michigan Senator Carl Levin has introduced a bill requiring that all fees collected by users of U.S. ports and harbors be used to maintain those facilities. If passed, the bill would provide a steady revenue stream to keep up the Houston Ship Channel. Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is co-sponsoring the bill.

“You have maintenance that is very expensive and very necessary if you’re going to keep the business. We’re finding that the money collected from our users is being diverted to other areas. We want to keep it at the ports.”

Hutchison says cargo traffic through Texas ports support over 1 million Texas jobs and account for more than $135 billion in value. Texas Senator John Cornyn is also a co-sponsor.

“Let’s hear it up for the East End. (Applause and cheers) Aw, come on. Let’s hear it up for the East End! (Louder applause and cheers)”

Councilman Ed Gonzalez ramping up the crowd at a ceremony marking the economic revitalization of Houston’s East End.

The effort includes sidewalk construction, bike lanes street lamps and a METRO line down Harrison Boulevard — the last due to open in 2014.

East End business leaders were on hand, among them, C&R Autos’ owner Bob Townley.

“Fifteen years ago, this was gangs, drugs, graffiti. The transformation in this neighborhood is absolutely amazing. And the true catalyst for this miracle, I believe, is the [Greater] East End Management District. Assuming that the East End Management District works for us — if they work for me, they’re probably the best hire I’ve made in over forty years. (Applause) Thank you all very much.”

American Airlines is recalling 200 more flight attendants who were furloughed in recent years. The airline said today it also agreed to hire 30 new Mandarin-speaking flight attendants to staff flights to and from Shanghai. It’s American’s second announcement of new flight attendants hiring this month. Last week, the airline said it would bring back 368 furloughed attendants because of a pickup in international flying. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said half the 200 recalled workers would start by July 15 and the rest by October 15.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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