Since the rail bond proposal, or “Proposition 1,” was defeated in November 2014, we’ve received a lot of questions about what we’re doing for Austin’s Central Corridor where there is still a critical need for effective and connected transit solutions.
We went back to the drawing board. Project Connect partners agreed to utilize the remaining grant funding to re-engage the community and initiate a new study under Capital Metro’s management. The Central Corridor Study that began in 2014 will now continue with AECOM, an integrated global engineering firm, leading the effort, working with transportation agencies, stakeholders and the public to shape Austin’s transit future.
The Central Corridor study is intended to accomplish three key goals:
- Identify short term solutions that can be done with current infrastructure to improve mobility within the study area.
- Identify longer term projects including new modes of high capacity transit, such as bus rapid transit, light rail or commuter rail.
- Develop a funding strategy and timeline for the proposed infrastructure projects.
While the entire Central Texas region is experiencing phenomenal growth, central Austin is a key area of focus for improving mobility. Nearly 150,000 people drive into and out of the downtown area each day, so creating effective transit options for the heart of the city is vital for increasing economic growth and improving the quality of life. To build a truly connected system, a multi-modal transportation plan that improves transit in the Central Corridor must also effectively maximize connections with regional routes in surrounding communities.
This will be a comprehensive study where all modes of transit will be explored including, though not limited to, rail, with the goal of developing efficient, feasible and practical solutions to transportation issues. From community input and studying a variety of factors like population growth, economic development, migration patterns, land use, roadways and traffic flow, the firm will create a workable, FTA-guided plan that can be funded and developed, along with a realistic cost analysis for building, operating and maintaining the proposed system.
AECOM’s study is expected to take 30 months to complete. Remaining Project Connect federal grant funds, combined with support from Capital Metro and the City of Austin, will be used to cover the study’s $3 million cost. As part of the study, AECOM will also identify potential funding resources to support the resulting plan’s implementation; these sources may be federal, state, public or private based.
How can you become involved? We’re depending on your participation, insight and feedback so that an effective transit plan, one that expresses the community’s vision and meets improves your own connectivity, can be created. Please visit ProjectConnect.com to for more information about the Central Corridor study as it progresses.