Another Step Forward for Project Connect: Request to Enter FTA Project Development Phase

Following last November’s vote moving the funding of Project Connect forward, we have been busy completing the necessary processes to establish and implement this bold new transit plan.

Adding to the significant milestones we have reached in less than a year since local approval of Project Connect, President and CEO of Capital Metro Randy Clarke signed letters requesting the Orange and Blue Line projects be accepted into the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Capital Investment Grant Program. These request letters serve as a critical milestone kicking off Capital Metro’s formal funding for the two light rail projects.

We told our community and voters we would work closely with our federal partners to secure federal funding, and this is another important step in fulfilling that commitment. Less than one year ago we hosted the joint Capital Metro Board of Directors and Austin City Council meeting to approve the Locally Preferred Alternative. To be at this step less than one year later is an incredible, industry-leading achievement and a testament to the expertise and dedication from our staff teams, and your leadership.

– Randy Clarke, President and CEO of Capital Metro, in a letter to the Boards of Capital Metro & Austin Transit Partnership

While the FTA reviews the requests and accepts the projects into the next phase, CapMetro will continue to work through the required environmental impact documents and preliminary engineering design.

CapMetro is proud to serve the greater Austin community by taking each step of this process with care.

Head to our website to learn more about Capital Metro’s Project Connect.

Notices of Intent for Project Connect Orange Line and Blue Line

Capital Metro is very excited to share that the agency has reached two significant milestones in the planning and federal funding process for the Orange and Blue Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) projects.

On May 24, 2021, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) published two Notice of Intent (NOI) announcements in the Federal Register notifying the public and stakeholders of the opportunity to participate in the preparation of two National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) documents for the Orange and Blue Line projects.

This signifies the official start of an effort to assess the potential impacts of building the projects and identify ways to mitigate potential adverse effects on the community or environmental resources. The public will have opportunities to review and provide input on the conceptual designs for the projects this summer. The results of the EIS analysis will be available for public review and comment in late spring 2022.

For your review, we’ve provided additional environmental documents for the Orange Line and the Blue Line.

Austin Voters Approve Funding for Project Connect

The City of Austin decided it’s go time for Project Connect by passing Proposition A in a historic vote on November 3, 2020. Project Connect is the comprehensive plan expanding transit to promote equity, reliability, safety, economic development and cleaner air.

“We are grateful for their trust and vision for the future,” said CapMetro President and CEO Randy Clarke. “This YES vote is a huge step toward creating a more equitable and livable city, providing more and better ways for people to access jobs, education, health care and new opportunities.”

What’s to Come

Transparency Every Step of the Way

An important next step is the launch of the Austin Transit Partnership (ATP) to guide the Project Connect investment with transparency and accountability throughout the project. More details will be available at the upcoming CapMetro board meeting on Monday, November 23.

Economic and Environmental Advancements

Beyond its expanded transit system, Project Connect will bring economic and environmental benefits that will transform Central Texas and support our continued growth. Project Connect is expected to create thousands of jobs and every dollar invested in public transportation will generate $4 in return to the local economy. Moving toward a more sustainable future for our region, the expansion is designed to deliver nearly 300,000 trips each day, reducing the vehicle air pollution and our contribution to climate change.

Thank You, Austin

“I would like to take a moment to thank and honor the essential frontline workers, including our operators and support staff, for their heroic efforts to keep our city moving,” said CapMetro Board Chair Wade Cooper. “Your dedication and hard work have not gone unnoticed, and your contribution to Austin and Central Texas is vital.”

Realizing this transformational plan has only been possible through the collaborative efforts of our partners in government and in the community, as well as a huge number of individuals throughout Central Texas.

“We now have an approved plan, a schedule and the dedicated funding to move us to the next phase, and we remain committed to transparency as we begin building our expanded transit network,” said Clarke. “Project Connect will shape the future for our generation and many to come.”

Learn More

Want to learn more about Project Connect? Check out more information on our website and be sure to follow along on Instagram and Twitter for updates in the coming weeks and months.

Let’s Talk Business

Transit keeps the entire region moving, and CapMetro strengthens that forward momentum by forming partnerships with local businesses and community leaders.

CapMetro is hosting a one-hour event called Accelerate where you’ll hear from  President & CEO Randy Clarke about the economic opportunity that comes from transit investments and how local businesses can earn contracts from CapMetro to help us deliver our service to the community.

You will also hear from special guest Peter Rogoff, CEO of Seattle’s Sound Transit agency and former Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration under President Obama, as he recaps the business opportunities that resulted from a $54 billion bond package in 2016.

At CapMetro, we provide many different ways to work with businesses and we want to make it as easy and efficient as possible. Whether you want to participate in Project Connect procurement opportunities, have a product or service that could be a great fit for the agency or are looking to advertise on one of our buses or rail stations, we want to work with you to make that happen!

Accelerate – Zoom Webinar
Thursday, Aug. 20
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Register here

Project Connect is our long-range transit plan to transform how we get around our region. The multi-billion dollar investment is an network expansion to serve more communities with better service, including a new light rail system, a downtown transit tunnel that could improve mobility everywhere whether you’re on the train or in your car, new MetroRapid routes and vehicles, a transition to a zero-emissions fleet and much more. Not only will this program transform our transit network, but it will have a significant impact on job creation – with 9,700 local jobs created for every $1 billion invested.