Property Tax Could Fund $7 Billion Transit Plan in Austin, Displacement Mitigation Included
"The Austin City Council voted [in July] afternoon to move forward with plans to seek a property tax increase to help fund Project Connect, a plan to build more train and bus lines," reports Samuel King for KUT, Austin's NPR station.
Voters would still have to approve the property tax if the proposal makes it all the way through the City Council process. "The tax increase of 8.75 cents per $100 of property valuation would fund a $7 billion initial expansion of the transit system, as opposed to a higher tax rate of 11 cents that would have funded the full system plan of $10 billion. The council will formally vote next month on whether to put the plan to voters in a November referendum," explains King.
Another big contingency for the plan is funding from the federal government to match the local investment. If the new property tax is approved by voters, the federal government would still be expected to cover 45 percent of the $7 billion plan.
The new revenue generated by the property tax would also include funding for programs intended to mitigate displacement as a result of new development spurred by the city's transit investments. "The plan now calls for a $300 million fund to address displacement, up from $100 million," reports King.