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With Some Details To Be Determined, Austin's Transportation Bond Heads to the Ballot

Local groups are concerned that voting for the city of Austin's $720 million transportation bond will require a leap of faith.
October 12, 2016, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Audrey McGlinchy reports on the $720 million scheduled for the November ballot in Austin, Texas. The controversy surrounding the bond concerns the ongoing uncertainty about exactly how and where the $720 million would be spent should voters approve the bond.

"Although $482 million of the bond’s total price tag has been set aside for changes to seven main roads, plus studies of two others, city staff has said that fully funding the corridor studies would cost closer to $1.5 billion," according to McGlinchy. "So, with less than a third of that amount in hand should the bond be approved by voters in November, staff and Council would still have to fund the rest piecemeal."

The bond, first announced in May and covered by Planetizen in June, is one of Mayor Steve Adler's signature initiatives. Adler's explanation for the uncertainty surrounding the bond is that a finalized list of corridor plans would cost too much and waste time.

However, Mayor Adler does promise that the bond will have guidance and checks and balances in place. McGlincy explains:

When City Council approved the bond, it also approved a set of guiding goals for staff, including addressing congestion and increasing transit options, such as infrastructure for buses and bikes. These, the mayor said, will be priority when staff decides which portions of Austin’s main roads deserve makeovers. Council will also have to approve each piece of spending with this bond money, meaning there will be a venue for at least some form of public input.

The article also shares the details of the Austin Neighborhoods Council's objections to the lack of detail regarding the bond.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 in Austin Monitor
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