Governor Candidate Andrew White Calls for ‘Made in Texas’ Signs at Gas Pumps, State Fleet of Self-driving Vehicles

AUSTIN -- Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Andrew White wants to nudge Texans to buy "Made in Texas" gasoline.White says that making the state's 10,000 gas stations post signs showing how much of their gas comes from Texas oil wells would generate 200,000 new jobs during his first four years as governor.The idea would spin off revenues to help pay for another White plan, a state fleet of self-driving mass transit using alternative energy sources, he said.Unveiling his job-creation plan on Tuesday, White said the state should foster and launch a network of on-demand, autonomous passenger vehicles. They would use Texas-produced, compressed natural gas and electric batteries, he said."This is forward thinking," said White, a Houston investor and the son of the late Gov. Mark White.Asked if his plan is too high-tech and Democrats most likely to show up for his rematch next month against former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, White said it'll appeal to everyone."Striving for economic opportunity, particularly for those not even making a living wage, is a goal for me," he told reporters.Hits Abbott, not ValdezWhite is vying with Valdez in the May 22 runoff for the chance to challenge first-term GOP Gov. Greg Abbott this fall. White spoke at the South Austin offices of Impact Hub, a global network of shared office space where entrepreneurs work and share ideas.He repeatedly criticized Abbott as a "small thinking" career politician. Abbott's mantra is "follow [Lt. Gov.] Dan Patrick," he said, citing Abbott appointees' abrupt ditching last fall of plans for managed toll lanes on LBJ East and other important urban highway projects.By catering to Patrick and the "radical right," Abbott has encouraged bathroom bills and other discriminatory legislation that threatens to hurt the Texas economy, White said.An Abbott campaign spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.However, White said almost nothing about Valdez, even though he ran behind her on March 2. He is considered the underdog in their runoff. When asked, White drew a subtle distinction between himself and Valdez. He said Democrats must pick the candidate who can raise money and take the fight to Abbott and win.White's jobs plan also calls for supporting Texas public schools and includes a vow to ditch discussion of a bill prescribing which bathrooms transgender Texans can use.Leveraging fossil fuels for mass transitOn his website, White's campaign says a requirement that gas stations post what percentage of their gasoline comes from Texas would increase consumption of Texas-originated fuel by between 10 percent and 15 percent.That would create up to 30,000 new jobs in exploration, production and refining, and up to 207,000 new jobs through "indirect and induced employment" in businesses supporting the energy industry, his website says.White said he would spur the creation of another half-million jobs by persuading the federal government to also require the nation's gasoline stations to post the same information.He vowed to plow some of the state's new revenues from the "Made in Texas" oil sign policy, plus $1 billion in rainy day dollars into his "TEXpress2020" plan. If needed, the state could raise additional capital by issuing operating licenses for the new transit system to "key technology providers," his website says.Under it, Texas higher education institutions would help design a network of autonomous vehicles. The state would "attract manufacturers to build the several thousand self-driving passenger vehicles," the site says. They would use hybrid engines powered by natural gas and batteries."Far more flexible than rail or bus lines, self-driving mass transit is within reach," according to White's website. "But, we have to reach for it."Confident in technologyAsked about the recent death of an Arizona pedestrian who was struck by a test model of Uber's self-driving SUV, White cited a study showing that even with autonomous vehicles' flaws, they're safer than human-driven cars."It's already better than a human driver," he said. "So it's a smart move."While Abbott worries about bathrooms and pre-empting local ordinances on tree-cutting, White cast himself as a deep thinker about the new economy. He wouldn't need to go to India to "beg" for jobs, as he said Abbott did on his recent trade mission to the South Asian nation."We have to use the size of our market to our advantage," White said "If we were Vermont, we wouldn't have this opportunity. We're Texas. ... Texas is too big to think small."  Continue reading...

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