Project Connect Receives $900K Federal Grant for Transit-Oriented Development Planning and Anti-Displacement Efforts

Transit-Oriented Development Planning and Anti-Displacement Efforts

AUSTIN, Texas (December 14, 2020) - CapMetro has been awarded a $900,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to support transit-oriented development and anti-displacement efforts for Project Connect.

The initial program of projects for Project Connect will cost $7.1 billion, including $300 million for anti-displacement efforts. This new grant will expand those anti-displacement and equity efforts. It is expected that nearly half of the costs will be supported by federal grants and commitments. The FTA Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning grant award comes only one month after Austinites made a historic decision to fund Project Connect, and it is the first example of federal funding CapMetro expects to secure in support the program.

CapMetro and the city of Austin are partners in implementing the Project Connect program. The city of Austin will lead the anti-displacement efforts, though this grant award demonstrates how a successful partnership with the city of Austin allows the community to leverage federal funds to increase what has already been dedicated locally to study and implement anti-displacement strategies. The grant work will be a valuable resource in developing anti-displacement strategies in addition to the $300 million already dedicated to anti-displacement efforts.

The grant funds will be used to study the North Lamar/Guadalupe/Riverside Fixed Guideway Corridor. The corridor is a 12-mile light rail segment core that includes both the Orange and Blue light rail lines from North Lamar and U.S. 183 to U.S. 183 and East Riverside Drive. This area includes many development hubs and placemaking opportunities. The outcome of the study will be recommendations to assist in the development of context-sensitive anti-displacement strategies and affordable housing projects along the corridor.

CapMetro will likely take the proposed Orange and Blue Lines into the preliminary engineering phase of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review in early 2021, which is the federally required review that evaluates the environmental and related social and economic effects of projects. The grant will provide additional planning, financial analysis and regulatory tools related to NEPA and to additional local land use policies.

CapMetro will manage the study, with technical and community engagement support from the city of Austin. As the local financial sponsor of the corridor study, CapMetro will provide a match of $250,000 committed funding.

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Jenna Maxfield, 512-592-2171