AUSTIN, Texas - Proposition A has the green light from Austin voters allowing the City to move forward for its $7.1 billion transit system called Project Connect.
“It has been a long road, but we now have a data-driven, community designed plan the voters are telling us they want us to build,” said Randy Clarke, President and CEO of Capital Metro.
Clarke says this comprehensive transportation plan has been 20 years in the making. “Project Connect is that transformational plan that's going to improve mobility. It's going to help our environment, and it's going to make us a more livable and equitable city,” he said.
The results were 58% For and 41% Against. This gives the green light for the project that will include new rapid bus routes, a 27-mile light rail system that includes an underground downtown transfer hub, nine park & ride facilities, and housing assistance for families displaced by growth.
“It represents the thing we need to do for our climate change responsibilities to the world. It's our chance to really be able to deliver mobility equity in the city that is not as fair and just to everybody as it should be and this is a big chance to do something about that,” said Mayor Steve Adler.
The new project will be 45% federally funded. The other 55% will come out of taxpayers' pockets. The group "Our Mobility Our Future" argued it wasn't worth the cost and fought to convince people to vote the measure down.
“The will of voters should be heard, and if this is the direction we want to go, my hope would be that, you know, first of all, that property owners and taxpayers understand the implications of this and that, you know, they're prepared to pay that tax bill that will hit in January, that is retrospective to 2020,” said executive director Tori Moreland.
CapMetro says plans to execute Project Connect will start as soon as possible.
“Regardless, tonight, if you support it, Prop A, or Project Connect, we are committed, and you have my commitment that we will execute this program for all of Austin. It's an Austin community asset and we're going to do it in a transparent, cost-effective and community-centric way like we tried to do everything here at Cap Metro,” said Clarke.