By Christina Davis
“I wasn’t born in Texas, but I came here as fast as I could,” said my 86-year-old grandfather, a New York native. My grandfather moved to Texas 50 years ago, but it seems as though, like him, the rest of the country is picking up Texas fever. More and more people are moving to Texas and as a proud Texas native, I cannot say that I blame them. Instead of bragging about the many characteristics that make Texas the best state in the union, I will respond to the paranoid political commentator, businessman and Texan James Moore’s recent article published by CNN and entitled, “The Trouble With Ya’ll Moving to Texas.”
With the newcomers come new expectations for living, which Moore reprimands in his article. He tries to paint a picture of Texas as a world with limited resources. While Texas is certainly not an economic paradise, it is capable of hosting the population growth.
The availability of jobs, high wages and affordable housing prices has spurred 387,000 people to uproot their families and move to the Lone Star state in the past year, according to the 2013 U.S. Census. Texas has been in a continuous state of expansion for the past few years, with five of the 20 fastest growing cities in America within the bounds of its border, according to the CNN Money article, “Why everybody is moving to Texas.”
As people come to share in the riches of Texas, the state must adjust to provide for the needs of roughly 400,000 new Texas residents. Moore claims that the influx of residents is exacerbating the increasingly horrific traffic problem in Texas. He goes on to say that local Texans have continually voted against expanding local transportation systems to cut costs, which has not helped the traffic problem.
While Texas roads are known to be some of the best in the country in terms of the actual quality of roads that the taxpayers supplement — the construction of these roads takes time. The local Texas infrastructure will have to adjust to the increasing demand for road space and this adjustment will not be made overnight, or even in the next several years. As the major cities in Texas continue to expand, so will their transportation systems and roads, therefore increasing efficiency and utility in the lives of Texans. Moore should not worry about the continued traffic issues — big cities have lots of people in them, and with time, the state will adjust to accommodate the newcomers.
But even more pertinent than improved Texas transportation is the need for water. Moore says the lack of water in the natural landscape and reservoirs makes it incredibly inconvenient for Texas residents to have access to it. Yes, population growth in this state does call for a change in lifestyle — Texas is almost always in a drought, and conscious measures must be taken to preserve what natural bodies of water are here. New measures to recycle water similar to the Direct Potable Reuse project recently instated in Wichita Falls, should be considered by state officials. An increase in population in Texas offers opportunity for greater technologically green development that could benefit the state in other green initiatives, not just recycling water.
Moore’s paranoid perspective does not encompass the steady, incredible economic growth of Texas that has supported the recent increase in population. While his concerns about drying up water and packed highways are valid, he must place more faith in the strength and nature of the Lone Star state’s natural resources that are already being developed. Those who have realized the opportunity, industry and freedom that sum up the very essence of the state of Texas are welcomed with open arms. Our state motto is “friendliness,” after all.