3 light rail lines proposed in leaked CapMetro draft plan

Leaked Capital Metro draft plans (CapMetro Photo)
Leaked Capital Metro draft plans (CapMetro Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Monday night, one of the Multimodal Community Advisory Committee board members posted a photo of Project Connect’s future system draft plan on social media.

“A lot of us were saying, ‘Hey, we want to share this,'” said Steven Knapp. “And, we were — we did it live [on Twitter].”

However, Capital Metro officials are saying its too early to confirm any of the ideas drafted in the plan.

The plan showcases three light rails.

“The Lamar and Guadalupe Corridor, all the way from Tech Ridge all the way to downtown,” said Knapp. “They’re looking at a light rail from Republic Square crossing the river and going south on South Congress to Slaughter.They’re also looking at a light rail from downtown, Republic Square area out on Riverside and possibly going out all the way to the airport.”

The plan also featured four bus rapid transit lines, all part of the plan’s connector corridors, as well as a short line from North Lamar Transit Center, up to The Domain.

“The four BRT would be ACC Highland, which is serving the eastern part of downtown, Dean Keeton and Manor Road corridor,” said Knapp. “Looking at South Lamar to downtown area crossing the river then using South Lamar to go down there to 290, and then an east-west route using Lake Austin Blvd and 7th Street.”

Also, the draft plans include possible improvements to area commuter rails, a potential new line for Metro Rail and a circulator corridor consisting of a downtown streetcar.

Knapp who has been on the MCAC board for about a year now says he and about 30 others were selected to generate community involvement, a major reason why Knapp says he shared the photo.

But, Capital Metro’s communication specialist Amy Peck says its still to early to tell if these proposals will even make the cut.

“We are far from being done with this,” said Peck. “We’re far from being done with our community engagement and we are hoping sometime this summer to have a plan proposal that can go to the board for their review and hopefully for their approval.”

Among those involved, there’s talk of the price tag which is in the billions, but Peck says they don’t have an exact idea of how much it will cost. Once they do, they will then have to turn to local, state, federal or a mixture of it for funds.

CapMetro officials say they are also waiting on the company’s incoming President Randy Clarke who is scheduled to begin work on March 7 and will need a few weeks to review the plans.

There’s just a lot of excitement,” said Knapp. “I just think because this is our first big view into, ‘Wow this is what the plan could look like.'”

Capital Metro along with the city of Austin will host another public meeting sometime in late March.

This is not the first time Capital Metro has attempted to make Project Connect’s transit plans a reality. Back in 2014, voters in Austin defeated the transportation bond that would have set the stage for a billion-dollar light rail project and improvements to local roads.

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