Austin Preparing to Trim 'Project Connect' Long-Term Transit Plans

Increasing costs and an understanding about taxes are reducing the scope of the long-term transit plan in Austin, Texas.

1 minute read

October 18, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Electric bus in Austin, Texas

Project Connect would convert the entire CapMetro bus fleet to electric by 2035. | Roschetzky Photography / Electric bus in Austin, Texas

[Updated March 3, 2023]

Project Connect, a long-term transit plan approved by Austin voters in November 2020, is being whittled down as ambition falters on increasing cots.

Asher Price reports for Axios that the Austin Transit Partnership, established by the city of Austin and Capital Metro (CapMetro) to design, finance, and build Project Connect, is exploring options to reconfigured transit plans after cost estimates for two light rail lines jumped from $5.8 billion to $10.3 billion. Real estate prices from the lines increased from $250 million to $1.19 billion and cost estimates for a downtown subway tunnel jumped from $2 billion to $4.1 billion. 

"Transit planners have a 'working expectation' of no new tax increases, a Project Connect program officer wrote in the memo addressed to the Austin City Council and the board of transportation agency Cap Metro," explains Price in the article. 

Project Connect was one of the headlining wins for public transit during the November 2020 election, but astute observers will recall that the scope of Project Connect budget was already cut by a third before ever appearing on the ballot. The source article below also reports that planned bridge crossings acros Lady Bird Lake could also be reduced from two to one.

Monday, October 17, 2022 in Axios Austin

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