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Capital Metro Announces an Ambitious Transportation Plan

Capital Metro announced a long-term vision Monday, March 26, that includes 11 high-traffic corridors for rail service or “rapid” buses driving in designated lanes. The Austin Capital Metro board voted unanimously Monday to ask the for up to $15 million for an engineering and environmental study in a new bond election this fall.

Capital Metro would also pay another $5 million for the first studies and will also ask Travis County to help pay for them. This would basically get the ball rolling for the first round of transportation projects for the next ten years.

Capital Metro is seeking for what they call a “multigenerational investment.”  It would cost as much as $6 billion to $8 billion and take up to 30 years to build out the entire plan.

Capital Metro is funded by a 1% sales tax that only provides enough money to run its current bus routes and the one existing rail line from Downtown Austin to Leander.

New Project Connect Map

Capital Metro Map Project Connect

Click Here to Expand the Map


Rail or Rapid Bus Lines

The draft plan breaks down the routes into 4 priority levels. The highest priority projects include a blue line from downtown Austin to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport along East Riverside Drive, a brown line on South Congress Avenue from downtown to Slaughter Lane and an orange line on Lavaca Street and Guadalupe streets going to far North Austin.

The second level of project priorities are the purple line that would follow along Manor Road to the Travis County Exposition Center and the yellow line would go from downtown Austin to Oak Hill on South Lamar Boulevard and U.S. 290. The existing red line from downtown Austin to Leander would also be expanded.

The third priority is a gold line that would go from downtown Austin to the Austin Community College Highland campus.

A fourth set of priorities includes service to Manor, an east-west line, service along South Pleasant Valley Road to the McKinney Falls area and on East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from downtown Austin to Decker Lane.

Randy Clarke, the new Capital Metro president and CEO, would not specify which corridors would have rail or rapid bus service. Capital Metro began crafting the Project Connect plan two years ago. There have been two previously unsuccessful attempts to build light rail in Austin. It makes sense that they have laid out their larger regional transit plan to attract the most amount of voters to approve the first round of priorities, hoping that another line will eventually reach them too.

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