On August 12, 2020 in Austin, Texas, the Austin City Council ordered two propositions related to transportation be added to the general election occurring on November 3, 2020.
Proposition A asked voters to vote for or against approving the City’s property tax rate and dedicating 8.75-cents towards the implementation of Project Connect.
Project Connect is a bold transit plan that includes a new rail system, a downtown transit tunnel that makes everyone’s trip faster, an expanded bus system and a transition to an all-electric fleet.
The property tax revenue will provide funding for the $7.1 billion capital cost plus operations and maintenance of the transit system once built.
The initial investment also includes $300 million for transit-supportive anti-displacement housing strategies, as recommended in RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity, and as championed by most professional Revitalization & Resilience Facilitators (the folks with “RE” after their names).
The dedicated property tax revenue, along with Capital Metro revenue and Federal funding, will be directed to a new, independent government organization called the Austin Transit Partnership to oversee, finance and implement Project Connect.
“With the passage of Proposition A, voters have given the green light to a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revolutionize our transportation infrastructure and provide people in our community with a safe, reliable way to get around. Project Connect will be better for our residents’ health, the environment, our safety, and our economic prosperity,” said Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk.
“Now, in partnership with the community, we are ready to begin the hard work to make this vision a reality,” he added.
Proposition B asked voters to vote for or against $460 million in voter-approved general obligation bonds for transportation infrastructure including sidewalks, transportation-related bikeways, urban trails, transportation safety projects (Vision Zero), safe routes to school and substandard streets.
“With voters’ support for Proposition B, we also begin efforts to invest an additional $460 million in transportation infrastructure – including sidewalks, bikeways, urban trails, and safety projects – to improve safety and mobility for our community, consistent with the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan,” explained Gina Fiandaca, Assistant City Manager for Mobility, on the next steps for Project Connect.
“Work begins now to stand up a new local government corporation, the Austin Transit Partnership (ATP), to deliver Project Connect in a transparent, efficient and timely manner, in line with the Contract with Voters. Our immediate next steps are to recruit and appoint the first ATP board, craft its first budget, and begin the environmental process for individual projects. We look forward to engaging with the community as we move forward with our partners to reshape transit in Austin,” she concluded.