With eyes on the presidential stage, Austin-based psychedelic soul duo Black Pumas will perform their Grammy-nominated song, "Colors," at Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' inaugural fundraiser on Wednesday.
With just a mere eight days before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, Black Pumas announced via Twitter that they will join other performers and celebrities like Kristin Chenoweth, Billy Porter and Renee Elise Goldsberry at the virtual fundraiser tomorrow.
The vice president and president-elect have begun fundraising for their inaugural season and first 100 days in office. Due to the pandemic, traditional ceremonies will be made virtual and initial fundraisers have been put in place to help cover the costs of the transition. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Harris was left with roughly $60,000 in political action committee funds leftover from her presidential campaign, which she plans to donate to three charities in her home state of California.
Black Pumas said they were honored to be involved in the fundraiser, in their Twitter post.
Black Pumas had an exciting 2020, despite the pandemic. The duo was recently nominated for three 2021 Grammys: "Album of the Year," "Record of the Year," "Best American Roots Performance" and will be pit against huge stars like Beyoncé, Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion.
The band also has a designated holiday in Austin, May 7, which was coined by Mayor Steve Adler.
Attendance to the fundraiser comes with a price tag, starting at $250 per "attendee" and ranging upward to the $10,000 "champion" range. There is one more level, "co-host" for $25,000, which is sold out.
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Designs for stations along Project Connect’s Blue Line were presented this week, giving a detailed look at what part of the rail system extending from downtown to the airport could look like.
The planned stations that have gotten the latest focus include Waterfront, Travis Heights and Lakeshore stations past Lady Bird Lake.
At the Waterfront station, the preliminary design aims to prevent visual obstructions and save on costs. This is accomplished by a transit guideway that will lower from the bridge to a level station.
Heading onto East Riverside Drive, the light rail faces a curve requiring a slow down to about 10 miles per hour.
The Travis Heights station could involve relocating a pedestrian crosswalk zone at Alameda Drive to Blunn Creek. Since light rails can't effectively operate on a steep grade, this allows the transit guideway to avoid that.
From there, the rail will extend to the Norwood Park area, and though it will reach along the right-of-way zone, the park will be able to remain open.
A view of the Blue Line by Lady Bird Lake. (Project Connect)
The line involves some coordination with the Texas Department of Transportation. That's because the department is working on an intersection that will have to be built before the phasing of the section of the Blue Line involving an I-35 crossing.
When it comes to the safety of cyclists and walkers, design ideas include a pedestrian hybrid beacon by East Bouldin Creek that would provide a protected signal to cross. And for the intersection TxDOT is carrying out, Project Connect is working with them on pedestrian access across the intersection. It could involve shared use paths along the street and crossings beneath it.
This summer, the public can expect 30% of design and cost estimates to be released. Though the project was $7.1 billion when voters approved it in November 2020, the latest estimates factoring in inflation and supply chain constraints show it could ultimately be upwards of $10 billion.
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Plans for an Amazon warehouse in Round Rock—a $250 million project slated to be a large distribution center—are on hold.
This comes just after the tech giant had its worst financial quarter in seven years.
- Late last year, it announced an expansion at the Domain adding 2,000 more corporate and tech jobs.
- Amazon still owns the site in Round Rock. Plans for it are unclear.
- Early this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is aiming to scrap warehouse space as it faces a slowdown in its e-commerce operations.
Part of that effort involves exploring the possibility of ending or renegotiating leases with outside warehouse owners. Another aspect is a plan to sublease warehouse space.
“It allows us to relieve the financial obligations associated with an existing building that no longer meets our needs,” an Amazon spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal. “Subleasing is something many established corporations do to help manage their real estate portfolio.”
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