Last fall, electric scooters surprisingly started popping up on sidewalks and streets around Corpus Christi. State Representative Eddie Rodriguez says it’s similar to what happened in Austin.
“Some of the companies just dumped the scooters, just put a bunch of scooters out there and they didn’t really go through the proper channels with the city,” Rodriguez said.
That has forced cities to figure out the benefits and the burdens after the scooters have already rolled into town. That’s part of the reason why Rodriguez filed House Bill 2715 to direct the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, with the Texas Department of Transportation in a consultant role, to further study this industry.
Areas of research would include existing local regulation of scooters, liability issues, safety standards and economic impact.
“I think we need to have as many transportation options that we can get in Texas so i’m not against scooters by any stretch,” Rodriguez told KRIS 6 News. “I just want to make sure that they’re safe and that we have some rules of the road.”
City councilman Ben Molina also sees the advantages, like easing traffic congestion, while recognizing the challenges. He says that’s why council approved a pilot program to regulate scooter safety and maintenance issues.
“We want to let them know that they are welcome to operate within the city limits and we do want them…but they also have to play ball with us.”
For that reason, Molina supports passage of the bill. However, he hopes it doesn’t eventually lead to the state taking policy-setting power away from the city.
“I’m really glad that they’re doing the study but, ultimately, it should be up to the cities to decide what is best for their communities.”
KRIS 6 News spoke to a representative from Blue Duck, one of the two scooter companies operating in Corpus Christi. He says the company supports the study, if this bill passes. Blue Duck also plans to be in contact with Representative Rodriguez’s office to be a “good faith partner” in this process.