Austin leaders meet with community to keep public support going for Project Connect

The Austin Transit Partnership is trying to move full speed ahead with public support.

"Transit is our future," said Nancy Crowther, a supporter. "It's our grandchildren's future. It's everybody's future."

A group gathered at Plaza Saltillo on Sunday to hear from community leaders about what the future of transit in Austin might look like.

"We are here celebrating so much good, of course, surrounding project connect," said Brittney Rodriguez, chief operating officer of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

In May, Project Connect shared a final route design to bring the light rail system from West 38th Street and Guadalupe through the University of Texas at Austin’s campus, into downtown and following Congress Avenue to Oltorf Street. Another line would head east on Riverside Drive to State Highway 71.

"I'm in favor of transit forwarding together here at Central Texas for a future that has more accessible transportation options and less fossil fuels," said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, (D-TX 37).

On Wednesday, the Austin Transit Partnership approved a $115 million spending plan for the rapid transit system in the upcoming fiscal year.

"We have to redouble our efforts," said Austin Mayor Kirk Watson. "What we're doing right now with Project Connect is going to make a world of a difference to the way this town looks 25 years from now." 

Proponents of the system said it reduces carbon emissions and lightens traffic.

"Something that we all know too well," said Rodriguez. "If I have not been next to you in traffic, I will be."


Crowther said the system makes the city more accessible for people with disabilities.

"One of the biggest things I am most proud of is to see how many people with disabilities have gained their independence," said Crowther.

But getting to a final destination where the transit system is accessible to all, supporters said there's still a long road ahead.