Big names, organizations rally around $720M mobility bond

FILE - South Lamar Boulevard (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Mayor Steve Adler is hoping endorsements from former council member Mike Martinez and other notable organizations in the city will help get a $720 million transportation bond passed come November.

“In my mind, it’s not a perfect plan but perfection should never be the enemy of good,” said Martinez at a news conference flanked by Adler Friday. “It is a sound, well thought through plan that is built upon previous decisions that got us to this point.”

Even though Adler beat Martinez in 2014’s mayoral race, Martinez told Adler election night he was willing to help him improve the city whenever he needed a hand.

“It’s really about unity. If we have some differences… we’ve decided to put those aside because this transportation bond is comprehensive and will have a major impact on every aspect of our community and it will impact your daily lives,” said Martinez.

Mayor Steve Adler at Smart Corridor press conference. Aug. 5, 2016 (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)
Mayor Steve Adler at Smart Corridor press conference. Aug. 5, 2016 (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)

While the news conference didn’t include any new information on ballot language or a final list of projects that would be included in the bond, initial plans include traffic improvements on South and North Lamar Boulevard, Airport Boulevard, Riverside Drive, Burnet Road, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Guadalupe Street and FM 969. Dubbed the “Smart Corridor” bond, the proposal aims to move more people, faster and safer, within the same amount of space. Improvements include adding turn lanes so drivers aren’t stuck waiting for another to turn, installing smart traffic lights that can be timed remotely, creating protected bike paths to increase safety and separate cyclists from traffic and building bus pullouts to allow traffic to flow when buses stop.

Council members now have until Aug. 22 to approve the ballot language and determine the list of projects the bond would fund.

If the bond is approved by voters in November, it would cost an additional tax of $5 a month for those who live in a home worth $250,000.

Joining the Mayor were representatives of the Austin Technology Council, the Chamber of Commerce, Hill Country Conservancy, Shoal Creek Conservancy, The Trail Foundation, and the Alliance for Public Transportation, as well as former Council Member Mike Martinez.

 

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