Latest urban rail plan met with opposition

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Opponents of the path of a planned urban rail line believe it’s better suited on Lamar Boulevard and Guadalupe Street.

Project Connect unveiled its final proposal Friday for the urban rail line in Austin. It runs from ACC Highland Mall, through the University of Texas campus, the Capitol Complex, downtown, across Lady Bird Lake, and then along East Riverside Drive.

The plan is not final yet. It comes with an estimated cost of $1.4 billion.

“They’re basically putting urban rail in the wrong place and they’re spending $1.5 billion to do it,” said Lyndon Henry, a board member of a group called Our Rail.

Our Rail opposes the Project Connect plan. He believes putting light rail on Lamar and Guadalupe will cater more to mobility rather than development.

“[Our preferred route] goes where people want to go,” said Henry.

Transportation consultant John Langmore responded to opponents who say the plan costs too much and serves too few.

“I don’t think there’s any merit to that at all,” said Langmore. “They’re estimating 10 years after opening, and this is a very conservative estimate, we’ll have 16,000 – 20,000 riders. The estimated cost of the project is $1.4 billion. Now that’s half the price of State Highway 130.

The plan could be up for voters to decide in November.

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