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Austin Metro Proposes Massive Transit System

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Redblock
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Austin Metro Proposes Massive Transit System

Postby Redblock » 07 Mar 2020 05:25

Austin Metro has released a nearly $10 billion transit plan to include new Rapidbus routes and a subway through downtown. It is likely to be put to a vote in November.


https://www.statesman.com/news/20200306 ... =statesman

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tamtagon
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Re: Austin Metro Proposes Massive Transit System

Postby tamtagon » 07 Mar 2020 08:53

It's about time! Since they spend so much time in Austin, maybe state decision makers will make history with an epiphany that funds and incorporates regional mass transit in the incessant planning of highways.

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electricron
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Re: Austin Metro Proposes Massive Transit System

Postby electricron » 09 Mar 2020 08:05

Redblock wrote:Austin Metro has released a nearly $10 billion transit plan to include new Rapidbus routes and a subway through downtown. It is likely to be put to a vote in November.


https://www.statesman.com/news/20200306 ... =statesman


The last two sentences of that article is important;
"Cap Metro will take public input on its recommendation during the next two months. In May, the transit authority’s board and the City Council are set to finalize plans on financing the system."

What we have today is the best scenario transit plan that the plan's proponents believe Austin can afford. After the public deniers balk at how much it will cost, which will all be academic because the real costs will be unknown, only then will they finalize plans on financing this new plan. They are following too much the Honolulu scenario funding a rail system; i.e. promising too much then taxing too much because costs skyrocketed. That's why the cost estimation to date lies between $4 to $9 Billion. That is not how Austin should proceed, imho.

They should follow how Houston and Dallas have implemented light rail instead. Fully fund a transit agency with a penny sales tax, give that agency the ability to sell bonds, and let it build what it can with its own money and with any federal grants it can get. Keep the state, city, and county finances out of the mix. That way, when cost overruns happens, the transit agency alone must cope with it. Either it must sell more bonds or slow the pace of construction. No big daddy (other governments) to come to its rescue with a further round of increase in taxes.

CapMetro should fund any transit plans it dreams up without seeking financial aid from other governments not equipped to do so today. Which means the only funding partner they should have is the FTA, and specifically its "New Starts" program.

I45Tex
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Re: Austin Metro Proposes Massive Transit System

Postby I45Tex » 09 Mar 2020 15:03

Beyond station TOD partnerships or ground leases of CapMetro’s own land, is there a scope of TIF / TIRZ in Texas that can appropriately allow public investment to share in the property valuation that it increases around transit lines?

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electricron
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Re: Austin Metro Proposes Massive Transit System

Postby electricron » 21 May 2020 07:29

I45Tex wrote:Beyond station TOD partnerships or ground leases of CapMetro’s own land, is there a scope of TIF / TIRZ in Texas that can appropriately allow public investment to share in the property valuation that it increases around transit lines?

Not within the Texas Transportation Code. The Texas laws allow independent transit agencies to collect sales taxes, not property taxes. Non independent transit agencies running under a city charter can not even collect any taxes but user fees (fares). Non independent transit agencies get revenues from the general funds of their cities - which can collect both sales and property taxes. If these cities wish to dedicate a portion of property taxes from TODs and TIFs, they can. I just do not see many city council members wishing to give money away automatically without a vote, annually or periodically, from the city's general funds.

I45Tex
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Re: Austin Metro Proposes Massive Transit System

Postby I45Tex » 21 May 2020 16:16

Thank you, ron.

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electricron
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Re: Austin Metro Proposes Massive Transit System

Postby electricron » 16 Jul 2020 09:08

What most of Austin's metro at grade level will look like
Image

Basically similar to what DART did on South Lancaster for the Blue Line and in Las Colinas for the Green Line. You know, the very areas many Dallas DART commuters complain about as going too slow. Most of Houston's Metro is street running as well, so it is not an unique solution for light rail lines.

The only thing missing in the drawing is any representing of the catenary wires and poles needed to power the light rail trains. Well, you have to make it look as pretty as possible to get voters to vote in favor.


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