Prop 1 passes

Expect more construction as a huge mobility bond passes in Austin. The goal is to relieve congestion across the city.

At the Move Austin Forward watch party, when the early vote numbers were announced, there was a sigh of relief along with the cheer that rang out.

The $720 million bond measure known as Prop 1 jumped to an early lead and never looked back.

For the past several months, Austin Mayor Steve Adler has been the driver behind the wheel and on Election Day he thanked the Prop 1 supporters who packed th room for hopping on board.

"What you all have worked on here is so important to the city it's a magical place but we're only going to be able to maintain that if we actually do what needs to be done to deal with the challenges that we have and they are mobility and they are affordability and today this city is taking a big step in dealing with mobility dealing with digestion in the city dealing with safety in this city," Mayor Adler said.

The bond money is being sliced into three categories. Local mobility, regional mobility and corridor improvement projects. 

Roadways targeted for work include Lamar, Burnet, Airport, MLK and Guadalupe. There will also be money for Loop 360, Spicewood Springs, Anderson Mill and Old Bee Caves Road.

But putting down asphalt is just part of the plan. There are to be new bike lanes and pathways, improved access for buses and cash to purchase smart technology for traffic signals. 

It's a big list but Mayor Adler admits Prop 1 is not a total gridlock buster.

"It is a first step. Through decades of not investing we should have been investing we've got a hold to dig ourselves out and I'm just really excited the community said let's start that work now. It is not going to solve all the problems there is no quick solution ... but it is a step in the right direction it is a solid step in the right direction and I'm really excited," Adler says.

Those who opposed the bond measure claimed it was a shell game. It was argued that the plan would end up costing property owners more money than the $5 increase in property tax bills that supporters claimed.

"The mayor worked very hard on this and put a lot of political energy into this, there was a lot of money in the PAC that opposed us, and those were hard things to overcome," Roger Falk says.

With the vote counting over, work on the Prop 1 projects will now get geared up. Sidewalk projects, described as shovel ready, are expected to start first.

But like Austin's traffic, relief will not be quick. Some of the work is expected to take more than a decade to complete.

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