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USA: Austin’s mobility plan gains momentum

City hopes to gain community support

Updated: Friday, 12 Apr 2013, 6:52 PM CDT
Published : Friday, 12 Apr 2013, 6:52 PM CDT

Omar Lewis

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A major plan to fix Austin’s traffic issues is moving forward and gaining momentum.

The plan, called Project Connect, is looking to tie several transportation options together from Leander, all the way to San Marcos.

But it comes with a hefty price tag of over $4 billion. Because of this, city leaders want to make sure the community is involved in the decision making process.

With more than 150 people moving to town each day and adding 70 additional cars to the road, the city said keeping up with mobility and growth has been a challenge.

“We can’t address the mobility issue fast enough,” said Linda Watson, CEO of Capital Metro. “But we are seeing coordination and momentum like we have never seen before.”
Project Connect is the plan to get Austin on track. It ties urban rail expansion and new highway express lanes together. It would also bring commuter rail lines and rapid transit options as well.

Just this week, city hired transportation expert Kyle Keahey to oversee the urban rail portion of the project.

Another main focus is finances. So far, there is about 1.9 billion dollars for the project, but much more money is needed.

The city is considering using funds generated from sales taxes and a possible bond package.

“The city is still looking at having a bond program election next year,” Watson said. “That will cover a portion of capital with hopes of getting federal funding for the other half of that. We are putting together the financial plan now.”


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