Proposed Austin Light-Rail

According to recent U.S. Census data, the population boom in the Austin region shows no signs of slowing – so it’s no wonder that traffic woes continue to dominate the conversation among Austin residents. In response, the Central Austin Community Development Corp. (CACDC) is proposing a plan for a rail starter-line, which will go up for vote this November.

This won’t be the first time such a plan has been put before Austin voters. They’ve narrowly defeated light rail ballot measures twice since 2000 – most recently in 2014. If the new measure passes this time around, it would provide a 5.3-mile light-rail option along Guadalupe Street and North Lamar Boulevard between Capital Metro’s Red Line Crestview Station in North Austin, and downtown’s Republic Square.

austin light rail

Map: Andrew Mayer

The CACDC estimates that the new line would attract a weekday ridership of 37,400, at an estimated project cost of $397.5 million. That cost might be easier for Austin voters to swallow than the billion-plus proposal for 9.5 miles of urban rail that the majority of voters rejected in 2014. According to the CACDC, that seems to be the case: the 2015 Zandan Poll found 66 percent of responding Austinites to be in support of a new tax to pay for surface-level rail projects.

The proposed light-rail plan is an alternative to Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s mobility bond package – estimated at $720 million – that overwhelmingly (about 83%) focuses on roadway projects, with a few “alternative mobility” pedestrian and bicycle projects and virtually no significant public transportation improvements.

For details on the plan, including maps of the proposed route, visit Austin Rail Now

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