AUSTIN, Texas - Having been born and raised in Austin, Natasha Harper-Madison knows the need for public transit options. She said early on, Austin was a city catered to cars.
"Transit became an obligatory social safety net service, a third class option for people with no choice. Treating transit as an afterthought left all these Austinites without access to the broader opportunities of our city," she said.
She was among the many elected officials at the groundbreaking for a new MetroRapid bus route.
"I’m so excited to be here on this groundbreaking of this first MetroRapid line that will bring faster more frequent service from the Expo Center, to Colony Park, to LBJ High School, Springdale Shopping Center, and Dell Children's, Manor Road corridor and all the way to UT and downtown Austin," said Harper-Madison.
CapMetro officials said a move like this is bigger than just adding routes, the additional routes add opportunities to Austinites.
"The foundation of equity is providing people access to opportunity. If we can have a larger public transportation system that more people could use, and it's really low cost transportation, you naturally are impacting people's affordability," said president and CEO Randy Clarke.
"It's great to know that Randy is developing a transportation system here that will move almost as fast as a jaguar," said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin).
LBJ Early College High School principal Dr. Joseph Welch noted how much easier life could be, for his students, faculty and staff, with the new line.
"With this express system now coming in, they will also be able, our staff and faculty, to commute from their own neighboring communities…and our students to work at the end of the day. This brings vital resources and opportunities to our students," said Welch.
This route is just one of four new MetroRapid bus routes that are a part of Project Connect, which was passed by voters in 2020.
The buses on the new MetroRapid route will be one-hundred percent electric, according to Clarke. This route is expected to be in service in the summer of 2023.
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