June 26, 2023
On June 6, Austin metropolis leaders formally authorised Venture Join, the town’s estimated $4.5 to $4.8 billion undertaking. Venture Join would create almost 10 miles of sunshine rail community and serve an estimated 28,500 riders per day.
The Austin Metropolis Council, Austin Transit Partnership and Capital Metro Board voted to undertake part one of many undertaking.
Historical past of Venture Join
In 2020, Austin voters overwhelmingly supported a property tax enhance to finance Venture Join. The vote authorised funds for setting up, sustaining and creating a brand new native authorities company known as Austin Transit Partnership.
Peter Mullan, the chief vp for structure and concrete design for the Austin Transit Partnership, mentioned ATP has labored towards implementing new packages all through Austin along with Venture Join.
These packages embody increasing Austin’s Metro Fast system, enhancing native companies just like the crimson line, establishing a brand new commuter rail and allocating $300 million towards anti-displacement initiatives.
Scaled again from its authentic design, the sunshine rail shall be a 9.8-mile avenue prepare by way of downtown Austin that splits throughout Girl Fowl Lake. One route will lengthen eastward on Riverside Drive till it reaches Yellow Jacket Lane, stopping earlier than the Austin-Bergstrom Worldwide Airport. The opposite route will proceed alongside South Congress Avenue till it reaches Oltorf Road, with 15 stations alongside the way in which.
The addition of routes north of Crestview and east of the Austin-Bergstrom Worldwide Airport is determined by future funding approval.
The sunshine rail will embody a cease on the College to assist college students higher navigate Austin.
College students against Venture Join are involved concerning the displacement of native companies, whereas others consider the long-term advantages outweigh the short-term penalties.
Civil engineering senior Donovan Meade mentioned West Campus would really feel safer and simpler to attach with by way of Venture Join.
“Clearly, nobody desires homes and companies to be displaced, however I’d a lot reasonably have a prepare than a burger,” Meade mentioned. “(Displacement) is an issue … however long run, I feel the advantages (of Venture Join) significantly outweigh the fee.”
Greg Anderson, the Metropolis of Austin planning commissioner, mentioned Venture Join would profit Austin and make locations equivalent to West Campus extra environment friendly.
“Individuals wish to be on two toes, trip their bikes, and benefit from the public realm safely. Sadly, there’s been an extended time frame the place we designed our cities and our public areas round vehicles,” mentioned Anderson, a professor within the Division of Geography and the Atmosphere. “Determining methods to construct for folks versus vehicles is basically the following step of metropolis evolution.”
What comes subsequent?
The plan remains to be preliminary, and stops will seemingly be modified. Mullan mentioned the town continues to work with ATP and CapMetro to make sure the sunshine rail stays environment friendly for all Austinites and connects to different types of transportation.
“We’re offering extra choices to serve a complete lot of Austinites to maneuver them round extra effectively, sooner, extra inexpensively,” Mullan mentioned. “These choices are going to be what put together our metropolis for a sustainable future.”