City, Capital Metro appoint Austin Transit Partnership board to oversee implementation of Project Connect
Austin City Council and the Capital Metro board of trustees voted unanimously to create the Austin Transit Partnership, a local government corporation that will oversee the implementation and governance of Project Connect, and to appoint its inaugural board.
"We've just created something that will be transformational for our community," Capital Metro Chairperson Wade Cooper said during a joint meeting on Friday. "It really is a landmark day."
Austin residents voted overwhelmingly during the Nov. 3 election to approve Proposition A, which raised the city property tax to help pay for Project Connect, a $7.1 billion overhaul of the local public transit system. It will bring two light rail lines, an underground downtown tunnel and expanded bus service to Austin over the next 10 to 13 years.
The Austin Transit Partnership will include five members. For its first two years, it will include a member of the Austin City Council who will later be replaced by a council appointee, such as a local resident or Capital Metro customer. It will also include a member of the Capital Metro board and three community experts, from backgrounds in project management, sustainability and community engagement.
A nominating committee—which included City Council Members Ann Kitchen and Alison Alter, Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion and Terry Mitchell, who serves on the Capital Metro finance, audit and administration committee—recommended three people, of 36 applicants, to serve as community experts on the ATP board.
- Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette is president of Huston-Tillotson University in East Austin and served as treasurer for Mobility for All, a political action committee that supported Proposition A.
- Veronica Castro de Barrera is the principal owner of the local firm VCdB Architecture & Art and designed Capital Metro's commuter rail stations.
- Tony Elkins is an infrastructure, transportation and project finance professional who works for the civil engineering firm WSP USA.
The nominating committee recommended that the ATP board appoint seven of their fellow applicants to technical committees or workgroups to take advantage of their expertise.
"We had a wealth of qualified talent," Mitchell said.
The remaining two members of the board will be Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Capital Metro board member Eric Stratton, who represents Williamson County.
Representatives from some local organizations that supported Project Connect—including Go Austin/Vamos Austin, People United for Mobility Austin and Workers Defense Project—voiced concerns about the nomination process, saying that it was rushed and not as transparent as elected officials had promised.
"The Austin Transit Partnership board process was rushed," GAVA School Health Equity Lead Organizer Cynthia Vasquez said during public comment. "It feels like that CodeNEXT kind of rushed."
Members of the nominating committee stressed that they heard these concerns and would work to do better in the coming months as this new entity takes shape.
"This is not the end of the process," Travillion said. "This is the beginning of a community process that we will build together."
Over the next six months, the city of Austin and the ATP board will determine a cost-sharing arrangement for corporate functions and enter into an agreement to implement anti-displacement strategies, such as real estate acquisition and affordable housing development.
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Austin police are investigating the killing of Moriah "Mo" Wilson after she was found with gunshot wounds inside an Austin home.
Wilson, a gravel and mountain bike racer, was visiting Austin from Colorado in preparation for the Gravel Locos race on Saturday taking place in Hico, a small town 2 hours from Austin.
On Wednesday, her roommate came home and found Wilson unresponsive with "a lot of blood near her,” police said. It is now being investigated as a suspicious death. No further information on the suspect or motive behind the killing are available at this time.
Wilson recently had become a full-time biker after winning a slew of races in the past year.
Some of your favorite Instagram filters can’t be used in Texas anymore and Austinites are sounding off on social media.
Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, announced on Wednesday that certain filters would no longer be available in Texas.
The change is a result of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against Meta, alleging the company uses facial recognition technology that violates laws in Texas. A release from Meta says it stopped using facial recognition tech in November 2021 and denies Paxton’s allegations.
Some Austinites bemoaned the shift, saying some of their favorite filters were now unavailable.
This was my FAVORITE filter on @instagram and they done removed it cause I’m in Texas ! Like wowwwwww pic.twitter.com/uX60hdIC0Q
— Pinkyy Montana (@inkstar_pinkyy) May 11, 2022
i heard that instagram filters got banned in texas? what the actual fuck y’all better give me my favorite filter back
— lia 🤍 (@liatootrill) May 11, 2022
loved this stupid filter sm i hate texas pic.twitter.com/DXr9mmUc64
— birthday boy jeno 🎂 (@beabtox) May 12, 2022
But more often than not, locals joked about the ban.
Texas women seeing the filter ban on IG pic.twitter.com/yDMcP3Qtsr
— Christian (Anabolic) Flores (@christian_flo24) May 11, 2022
So, the state of Texas has banned filter use on IG? THE END IS NEAR. 😂
— THE FRANCHISE! Франшиза (@NYCFranchise718) May 12, 2022
And some in-between chose to show off some natural beauty.
I live in Texas, but no filter needed. 😉 pic.twitter.com/A6teRgYMKn
— bad and bruja (@starseedmami) May 11, 2022
filter, no filter..texas women still reign supreme.
— 🎍 (@_sixile) May 11, 2022
Finally, some are trying to cash in on the opportunity.
Texas IG users- if you want to filter your picture cashapp me $1.50 $ErvnYng
— Gemini (@ervn_y) May 11, 2022
Meta said it plans to create an opt-in system for both Texas and Illinois residents, who are facing the same issues.