Your daily dose of Austin
Smartphone image
Make your inbox more Austin.
Local news and fun, every day 6am.
Project Connect Orange and Blue lines double in cost to $10.3B

The Orange Line will have a station along Republic Square. (Project Connect rendering)

New cost estimates from CapMetro show that two of Project Connect’s light rails will cost nearly double the original price tag.

Project Connect Program Officer David Couch provided updates in a memo on Thursday, which said the planned Orange and Blue Lines will now cost $10.3 billion, compared to the original estimate of $5.8 billion.

The breakdown:

  • Originally expected to cost $1.3 billion + an additional $600 million = $1.9 billion for the Blue Line, which would connect downtown to the airport.
  • With an original cost of $2.5 billion + an additional $1.8 billion = $4.3 billion for the Orange Line, which stretches from north to south Austin.
  • A tunnel, which was originally supposed to cost $2 billion + an additional $2.1 billion = $4.1 billion.

According to Project Connect, it is normal for costs to fluctuate as the process moves along and can be attributed to a few things.

  • The cost of real estate has had a “significant” increase—Project Connect originally estimated $250 million for land but now estimates $940 million.
  • Inflation and supply chain issues included a 3.5% escalation, which is now hovering around 5% due to trends in the supply chain.
  • Design changes have increased the length of the tunnel from 1.56 miles to 4.19 miles, plus new underground stations and a pedestrian concourse.

CapMetro said the new cost estimate will not require changing the tax rate that funds the project but that changes in cost would likely result in project adjustments.

Project Connect expects to complete the Blue and Orange line in 2028.


Pickleball gold rush links LeBron with Austin and a network of local investors like Brené Brown

King James

It's not on the level of LeBron signing with the Spurs, but who knows, maybe you'll see him at Guero's one day, having a Rob's Especial marg and a No. 1 dinner?

LeBron James, Draymond Green, Kevin Love, LeBron's business partner Maverick Carter, and a bunch of other sports-related investors are buying a Major League Pickleball expansion franchise.

Oddly, MLP teams aren't associated with places, so at this point it's just "an expansion team."

But Major League Pickelball is based in Austin, created, according to the Austin Business Journal, by Dreamland and Richard's Rainwater owner Steve Kuhn.

League investors include familiar Austin names like C3 Presents founders Charles Attal and Charlie Walker, Parsley Energy founder and partial Austin FC owner Brian Sheffield, Silicon Labs Chairman Nav Sooch, and pickleball enthusiast Brené Brown.

Fall camping: Camp Fimfo Waco offers one-of-a-kind experiences in the heart of Texas
Camp Fimfo Waco

Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!

Keep ReadingShow less