City Council and CapMetro Board Vote on Project Connect Implementation

CapMetro and City create new partnership, move forward with Project Connect

AUSTIN, Texas - At a joint session with the Austin City Council today, the CapMetro board approved an interlocal agreement between CapMetro and the city for creation of the Austin Transit Partnership (ATP), which will be responsible for the implementation of Project Connect. The board and council also approved complementary resolutions with commitments to the community about how the agencies will deliver the Project Connect system, through the ATP.

The Austin Transit Partnership will be a new, local government corporation created to deliver the Project Connect transit projects. The ATP will work jointly with the city of Austin, CapMetro board and the Austin community to design and construct the initial investment in Project Connect and transit-supportive infrastructure. The interlocal agreement approved today provides certain roles and responsibilities for support and joint work with the ATP and is a historic commitment to the partnership between the city and CapMetro.

Also adopted were a city council resolution and a CapMetro Board resolution, reaffirming commitments to the community and each other about this investment in Project Connect. The city council resolution includes direction regarding investment in anti-displacement strategies, outlines contracting processes to encourage and support the hiring of Austin businesses to deliver the project, and much more. The CapMetro board resolution commits the CapMetro Capital Expansion Fund as an investment in Project Connect and further solidifies commitments made in the council resolution.

On July 27 the board and council unanimously adopted resolutions to support the Initial Investment recommendation of $7.1 billion, including $300 million total for transit-related anti-displacement strategies. Through the action taken today, CapMetro will pursue 45% federal funding of this $7.1 billion, with a local match for the remaining funding coming through a voter-approved tax rate election for Project Connect. The Initial Investment scenario would also allow for future funding at a federal, state and local level as well as through public-private partnerships.

The Orange Line is planned as light rail between the North Lamar Transit Center and Stassney Lane, with enhanced MetroRapid service connecting north to Tech Ridge and south to Slaughter Lane. The Blue Line is planned as light rail from the airport to downtown and then operate north along the Orange Line. The Gold Line is planned as MetroRapid that could be converted to light rail services in the future. The Green Line is planned as an additional commuter rail service to connect downtown to Colony Park, with potential extension to Manor and Elgin. The plan includes 4 new MetroRapid lines with priority treatments on Manor Road, Pleasant Valley and Menchaca Road and 15 neighborhood circulator zones. There would also be 3 new MetroExpress routes, 9 additional Park & Rides and MetroBike integration.

The Initial Investment includes an underground tunnel that separates light rail from street traffic. It also includes an all-electric bus fleet and MetroAccess, a demand-response, shared-ride service for people whose disabilities prevent them from riding CapMetro bus and rail services.

In the coming weeks, the city council is anticipated to order an election to approve the Project Connect tax rate.