Prop 1 Passed. Now What’s Next?

Proposition 1, Austin’s 2016 mobility bond, passed on November 8 with 59.1% of the votes. Totaling $720 million, the bond represented the latest attempt to address the city’s traffic woes, with approximately $482 million of Prop 1 funding going toward the creation of seven “smart corridors,” and the remaining $238 toward regional and local mobility improvements.

Like many of the issues affecting our city today, opinions about the bond have varied dramatically. Does it go far enough? Is it focusing on the right areas? Does it take the right approach to tackling the traffic issue? Is it overly ambitious? Too expensive? Still, most everyone does agree that something needs to be done to address the ever-growing traffic problem in Austin – and in November, the majority of Austin voters determined that Prop 1 was, at the very least, a step in the right direction.

So what’s been happening since the election? On December 7, the City hosted its first Mobility Bond Vendor Open House. This information session gave vendors more in information about upcoming opportunities for capital improvement projects funded by the bond. It also provided guidance on how to register as a City of Austin vendor (as well as a Minority- or Women-Owned Business, if applicable).

On December 15, the Austin City Council approved the first $28 million of funding. It has been earmarked for preliminary work on the following corridor improvements:

  • $4 million for the corridor mobility program – Corridor improvement programs help the Austin Transportation Department (ATD) plan for and bring corridors up to modern expectations. To date, the ATD has completed corridor studies on five major corridors: Airport Blvd, MLK/FM 969, East Riverside, North Lamar/Burnet, and South Lamar Blvd. The ATD has also initiated a corridor program on Guadalupe Street.
  • $10 million for sidewalks – The sidewalk program will repair and add miles of sidewalks around the city, making sure they are safe, ADA-compliant, and offer recreational enjoyment for Austin residents.
  • $3 million for the safe routes to school program – This program is designed to make walking and biking to school “safe, convenient and fun for students and families” by employing crossing guards and crossing guard supervisors and educating students on pedestrian and bicycle safety.
  • $2 million for safety/Vision ZeroVision Zero’s aim is to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in 2025 through evaluation, enforcement, engineering, education and policy.
  • $2 million for bikeways
  • $1 million for urban trails
  • $6 million for capital renewal projects

Historically, initial funding after voter approval has taken six months or more. With the rapid acceleration by the City Council to approve funding for mobility improvements, it is clear that people are anxious to get the first projects underway. The next steps involve putting contracts and implementation processes in place, and identifying a list of prioritized projects to be funded with the initial allocations outlined above. This is expected to happen at the Council meeting in February 2017.

If you’re interested in staying up-to-date on what’s going on related to the 2016 Mobility Bond program, you can sign up for the Capital Planning office’s newsletter here.

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