$1.4B rail plan includes bridge over Lady Bird Lake

Urban rail vision (Courtesy: Project Connect website)
Urban rail vision (Courtesy: Project Connect website)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new rail plan stretching from Highland Mall to Southeast Austin was unveiled Friday as the city works to better connect residents to the city’s core. The project carries an estimated $1.4 billion price tag.

The new rail line would pass through the University of Texas campus, the Capitol Complex and down Trinity Street through downtown. The line would then pass over Lady Bird Lake and east along Riverside Drive to Austin Community College’s east campus.

(Project Connect)
(Project Connect)

“Urban rail has the ability to enhance our regional transportation vision.  It’s about moving more people around our city more efficiently,” said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “Urban rail will more reliably connect people to jobs, school, home and entertainment.”

The 9.5 mile line would have 16 stops and operate on tracks separated from traffic and run on a 10-15 minute frequency.

An estimated 16,000-20,000 people are expected to use the system on a daily basis.

“Our rapidly growing community deserves a tangible transit system that moves people efficiently and sustainably while helping to drive our continued economic prosperity,” said said Capital Metro President and CEO Linda Watson. “We have to keep moving forward.”

Project Connect anticipated that the federal government will contribute 50 percent of the project cost to match local funding.

Community members are encouraged to provide feedback on the plan using SpeakUpAustin.org.

Moving Forward:

  • May 16: The CCAG will be presented with the funding and governance approach for the urban rail project, as well as potential phasing options for project implementation.
  • May 20: The recommended urban rail route and phasing options will be presented to the Capital Metro Board of Directors during a board work session.
  • May 22: The recommendation will be presented to the Austin City Council as a briefing during the regular council meeting.
  • June 13: The CCAG is expected to take action on the project team’s recommendation during its regular meeting before forwarding the recommendation to the Austin City Council, Capital Metro Board of Directors and the Lone Star Rail Board of Directors.
  • June 19: The final recommendation will be presented to the Capital Metro Board of Directors and the Austin City Council during a joint meeting of the two bodies.

Web Extra: Robert Hadlock goes one-on-one with Capital Metro Board member John Langmore.

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