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Full steam ahead: Capital Metro maps out next steps for Project Connect
(Emma Freer/Austonia)

Now that Austin voters have approved Proposition A, Capital Metro is getting to work implementing Project Connect. The first steps: creating an oversight body and beginning construction on some early components.


Proposition A raised the city's property tax rate about 20% to help pay for Project Connect, a $7.1 billion overhaul of Austin's transit system that includes two light rail lines, an underground downtown tunnel and an expanded bus rapid transit system.

It passed with the support of 58% of city voters, after two previous light rail initiatives failed in 2014 and 2000.

"This really is the starting line," Capital Metro Chief Counsel Kerri Butcher said at a board meeting on Monday. "For a long time, the election seemed like the finish line."

With the commitment of local property tax revenue, Capital Metro is now focused on establishing the Austin Transit Partnership, a local government corporation that will oversee the implementation of Project Connect.

The board will include five members. For its first two years, it will include a member of Austin City Council who will later be replaced by a council appointee, such as a local resident or Capital Metro customers. It will also include a member of the Capital Metro board and three community experts, from fields such as capital project management, sustainability and community engagement.

Interested applicants can submit a resume and letter of interest here through Dec. 2.

A nominating committee will submit nominees for appointment to the board at a Dec. 18 joint meeting of City Council and the Capital Metro board.

The inaugural ATP board will meet for the first time on Jan. 20 to approve bylaws, elect officers and adopt an interim budget.

Meanwhile, this winter, Capital Metro will begin construction on the Broadmoor station—a $24 million addition to the red line, a commuter rail running from Leander to downtown— and design on the McKalla station, both in North Austin.

The Broadmoor redevelopment project proposes a high-density, mixed-use campus, serviced by the forthcoming red line station, shown on the bottom right. (Brandywine Realty Trust)

Next year, the transit agency will approve funding for anti-displacement initiatives, host virtual community meetings about the planned light rail lines and, later in the year, begin construction on two MetroRapid bus lines: one serving the Expo Center corridor, from the University of Texas at Austin and downtown along Manor Road and Loyola Lane, and the other Pleasant Valley Road.

(Capital Metro)

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