Strategic Partnerships Staff
The Capital Metro (CapMetro) board and Austin City Council adopted a resolution to support a recommended $7.1 billion Project Connect transit plan on July 27.
Due to a drop in current and projected revenues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, CapMetro eliminated and modified services contained in the original $9.8 billion Project Connect transit plan.
This $7.1 billion investment would require $3.85 billion in local funding, with CapMetro seeking federal funding for the remaining 45 percent of the project costs. This financing plan creates opportunities to leverage future funding at federal, state, and local levels, as well as through public-private partnerships.
With the initial Project Connect investment scenario, the Orange Line would be 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.
Blue Line service would be provided by light rail from the airport to downtown and then operate north along the Orange Line.
The Gold Line would begin as MetroRapid, with the intent to convert to light rail services in the future. The Green Line would create an additional commuter rail service to connect downtown to Colony Park, with potential extensions to Manor and Elgin.
The scenario includes three new, faster MetroRapid lines with priority treatments on Manor Road, Pleasant Valley, and Menchaca Road and 15 neighborhood circulator zones. It also features three new MetroExpress routes with 10 additional Park & Rides/Transit Centers and MetroBike integration.
An underground tunnel will separate light rail from street traffic, increasing safety, speed and reliability for everyone throughout the city.
The Austin City Council and CapMetro board are scheduled to reconvene on August 7 for a joint meeting to discuss the interlocal agreement for the Austin Transit Partnership. The next step would be an August decision by Austin City Council to put Project Connect on the ballot in November.
At the August meeting, the CapMetro board will also consider a resolution for its funding commitment. The agency has planned to invest $73 million in contributions to Project Connect in its 2021 budget and has started the environmental review process.
This article was originally published by Strategic Partnerships Inc.