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Artist's rendering of the Blue Line station platform at Austin Bergstrom International Airport. (CapMetro)

The board that governs the implementation of Project Connect has approved its first ever full-year budget of $312.8 million, setting aside funds for design work, right-of-way acquisition, community engagement, and anti-displacement efforts.

Austin Transit Partnership was incorporated by the City of Austin and Capital Metro (CapMetro) last December after voters approved Proposition A, a ballot measure authorizing a new transit tax. The tax of 8.75 cents per $100 property value provides a permanent source of revenue to build and operate a light rail system and expand CapMetro's bus network.

Read the full The Austin Bulldog story here.

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Leslie Cochran used to don his typical eccentric outfit in Austin. (Megan Ann/CC)

There's a reason Austin is known as that "blueberry floating in a bowl of tomato soup," even if the phrase was not meant to be taken as a compliment. "The People's Republic of Austin" has a history of doing things differently than the rest of the state sometimes.

Whether being thrown around by Texas' longstanding Republicans, like when Gov. Greg Abbott celebrated "getting out of the People's Republic of Austin," or embraced by Austin's leftward-leaning, the phrase was coined for Austin's stark departure from the values of the rest of the state.

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(Emma Freer/Austonia)

This year has proven to be a critical one for transit investment in Austin. Despite the pandemic, the metro welcomed its latest corporate resident, Tesla; received billions of dollars in state funding to expand I-35; and watched as city voters overwhelmingly approved Project Connect, which will transform the local transit system.

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(Emma Freer/Austonia)

After a contentious campaign period, and two failed transit initiatives in 2014 and 2000, Austinites voted to approve Proposition A, which permanently raises the city's property tax rate to help pay for Project Connect, a $7.1 billion plan to overhaul the local transit system.

Unlike other races this election cycle, the results weren't close. Prop A passed by a nearly 19% margin, which local political analysts and transit advocates attributed to record-breaking turnout, a younger electorate and a new approach to transit planning.

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