Our Share of "the Stim"

We recently heard from the feds that Capital Metro may receive about $26.1 million from the economic stimulus plan (or if you prefer the long name, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009).

Our initial proposed project list includes many possibilities, all of which would be key components of a regional transportation system that this area needs to remain economically competitive and to retain and attract businesses.

Here’s a quick summary of some those potential projects:

Bus and paratransit fleet replacement and expansion: More than half of Capital Metro’s fleet will require replacement over the next several years.

MetroRail Red Line Expansion: A likely first step would be to add some additional track siding which would allow increased service.

Construction of new park & ride facilities: Possible locations for new P&Rs include South IH-35 and the city of Manor.

Expansion of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Technologies: Expanding the ITS system would allow us to provide real-time information for onboard audio and visual announcements to notify customers of upcoming stops. This would also result in more predictable service and improved operating efficiency.

Upgrade of bus stop signage: Improved bus stop signage would provide information more effectively.

Rail with trails: Over the years the community encouraged Capital Metro to plan for bike and pedestrian trails along our rail line.

Capital Metro is working diligently to determine the best use of this stimulus funding to provide maximum benefit for the community. We should have more detail in the coming weeks.

10 thoughts on “Our Share of "the Stim"

  1. yawnmoth

    There has been some discussion, as late, of Governor Perry refusing the stimulus. If he did that, I assume Capital Metro wouldn’t be seeing this extra money?

  2. Adam Shaivitz

    yawnmoth- Capital Metro is a direct grantee for FTA funding. The estimated $26.1 million would come straight to us from the feds.

  3. Greg

    I would love to see more weekend MetroRail service on the weekends so I could take the train downtown to Whole Foods, the Alamo Drafthouse, etc.

    Looking forward to see what y’all decide!

  4. M1EK

    The best use, by far, is as a down payment on the city’s urban rail proposal.

    Greg, do you even know what this new train actually is, and where it goes? You’ll be taking a bus quite a long ways to get to Whole Foods from the ‘downtown’ train station. Why not just bus it there now, if the bus is so attractive?

  5. Adam Shaivitz

    vin- Generally speaking, funding from the Stim has to be used for capital projects that are “shovel ready.” But we have already sought federal funding for Rapid Bus through the FTA’s Very Small Starts program.

  6. The Error Term

    How could the red-line be expanded through residential areas? Will you solicit neighborhood input before tripling the width of the track that runs through some folks’ backyards? Is there even room in some areas?

  7. Adam Shaivitz

    The E.T.- The first likely step of Red Line expansion would be to add a couple of track sidings within the existing right of way to allow an increase in service. But yes, it will be extremely important to keep the community involved in the process whether adding a couple of sidings now or the much longer term possibility of adding a second or third track.

  8. Andreas

    Fast-tracking RapidBus or its functioning would be ideal. I don’t see why that cannot be part of “shovel ready”. And in terms of public good will, building out those mini station stops and having impressive-looking articulated buses will do a lot to advertise for Capital Metro.
    The #1/#101 route is probably under its true capacity because the buses are simply too full at times, which turns off ridership by those who have the option of using a car.

  9. M1EK

    Andreas, please, no. Rapid Bus won’t help this corridor at all – the light-holding technology is useless in a corridor with heavy congestion (part of why our city council reps on Cap Metro’s board put the kibosh on it the last time it raised its ugly head).

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