Top Stories

UH College Of Medicine To Be Built On Campus, METRO’s First Self-Driving Vehicle, And Report On Texas Children

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Top afternoon stories:

The UH College of Medicine building will be constructed on a 43-acre tract of undeveloped land near MacGregor Park.

UH College Of Medicine To Be Built On Campus

The University of Houston’s Board of Regents approved Thursday that the College of Medicine building will be constructed on the UH campus on a 43-acre tract of undeveloped land UH purchased in 2008 near MacGregor Park on Martin Luther King Boulevard at Old Spanish Trail.

The approximately 150,000 square foot medical school will focus on preparing primary care doctors to practice in underserved urban and rural communities.

One of the main goals of the college is addressing a significant shortage of primary care doctors in the state. Texas ranks 47th out of 50 states in primary care physician-to-population ratio.

The College of Medicine building is projected to be an approximately 150,000 square foot, four-story structure at an estimated cost of $65 million. The University will pay for the building using institutional capital funds reserved for construction projects.

A shuttle similar to the one Metro plans to operate on the Texas Southern University campus.

METRO’s First Self-Driving Vehicle

Last spring, METRO announced a plan to run an autonomous bus along Texas Southern University’s Tiger Walk, a shared-use path that cuts across the campus. Now, the transit agency said it will start a pilot program in January.

METRO CEO Tom Lambert said they’re curious to see how autonomous vehicles function on a small scale, as they look for new ways to move commuters through the growing region. He added that a college campus is a good testing ground.

“There’s a lot of pedestrian movement, cycling movement, golf cart movement,” Lambert said. “There’s a lot of things we can learn.”

In the second phase of the pilot, Lambert said they hope to run the bus on nearby Cleburne Street to see how it interacts with vehicular traffic.

Report: 1 In 5 Children In Texas Lives In Poverty

A report released Thursday by the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) says one in five children in Texas lives in poverty, with African-American and Hispanic children disproportionately likely to live below the poverty line.

The report also found that poverty rates for families with children headed by single-mothers (38 percent) are twice as high as they are for families with children headed by single-fathers (19 percent).

Additionally, 671,000 children are still uninsured, despite access to health insurance has increased in the state. The CPPP notes that “significant barriers to health insurance coverage for Hispanic children persist.”

The report also deals with education and points out that cuts to the Texas public education budget have led to a decrease in per-student spending at schools with a high percentage of low-income students.