Austin residents have voted in favor of the city’s US$7.1 billion Project Connect plan that includes a new rail service, a new and expanded bus service, an all-electric bus fleet, and park and ride facilities.
Voters passed Proposition A on Tuesday, agreeing to use property tax revenue to fund the project, while federal funding will cover approximately 45 percent of the project’s capital costs.
The move is set to transform mobility in Texas’ state capital, after previous attempts to introduce light-rail services in 2000 and 2014 were rejected by voters.
Spencer Cronk, Austin City Manager, said: “With the passage of Proposition A, voters have given the green light to a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revolutionize our transportation infrastructure and provide people in our community with a safe, reliable way to get around.
“Project Connect will be better for our residents’ health, the environment, our safety, and our economic prosperity. Now, in partnership with the community, we are ready to begin the hard work to make this vision a reality.”
The new light-rail system will cover 27 miles and 31 stations, and will travel underground in the city’s downtown area. There will be four new BRT lines introduced to the city’s transit network, too – though one of these may eventually be converted to a light-rail service.
Residents also passed Proposition B, a US$460 million investment in other transport projects including improving sidewalks, bikeways, urban trails, and safety projects within the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan.
Commenting on the vote, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said: “I’m proud to live in a city that is looking to its future – one not satisfied with the status quo. Austin is pushing to be more sustainable, equitable and affordable in new and innovative ways.”