Austin City Council, CapMetro create Austin Transit Partnership to implement Project Connect

At a joint session, the Austin City Council and the CapMetro Board approved an interlocal agreement to create the Austin Transit Partnership (ATP), which will be responsible for the implementation of Project Connect.

The board and council also approved resolutions with commitments to the community about how the agencies will deliver the Project Connect System, through the ATP.

The Austin City Council resolution includes direction regarding investment in anti-displacement strategies, outlines contracting processes to encourage and support the hiring of Austin businesses to deliver the project, and much more. The CapMetro Board resolution commits the CapMetro Capital Expansion Fund as an investment in Project Connect and further solidifies commitments made in the Council resolution.

CapMetro says the ATP will work jointly with the City of Austin, Capital Metro Board, and the Austin community to design and construct the initial investment in Project Connect and transit-supportive infrastructure. The interlocal agreement provides certain roles and responsibilities for support and joint work with the ATP.

RELATED: Project Connect transit plan one step closer to becoming reality 

In July, the Board and Council unanimously adopted resolutions to support an initial investment of $7.1 billion, including $300 million total for transit-related anti-displacement strategies.

CapMetro will now pursue 45 percent in federal funding of that $7.1 billion, with a local match for the remaining funding coming through a voter-approved tax rate election. The initial investment scenario would also allow for future funding at a federal, state and local level as well as through public-private partnerships.

The Orange Line is planned as light rail between the North Lamar Transit Center and Stassney Lane, with enhanced MetroRapid service connecting north to Tech Ridge and south to Slaughter Lane. The Blue Line is planned as light rail from the airport to downtown and then operate north along the Orange Line. The Gold Line is planned as MetroRapid which could be converted to light rail services in the future. The Green Line is planned as an additional commuter rail service to connect Downtown to Colony Park, with potential extension to Manor and Elgin.

RELATED: Capital Metro unveils transit system recommendations, including light rail, Austin Underground 

The plan includes three new MetroRapid lines with priority treatments on Manor Road, Pleasant Valley, and Menchaca Road and 15 neighborhood circulator zones.

There would also be three new MetroExpress routes, nine additional Park & Rides/Transit Centers and MetroBike integration.

RELATED: Cap Metro plan for subway tops $9 billion

The Initial Investment includes an underground tunnel that separates light rail from street traffic, an all-electric bus fleet and MetroAccess, a demand-response, shared-ride service for people whose disabilities prevent them from riding CapMetro bus and rail services. 

In the coming weeks, Austin City Council is anticipated to order an election to approve the Project Connect tax rate.