If you haven't heard the news yet, Council voted 7-0 last night to approve the 2014 Strategic Mobility Plan containing the $1.4B Project Connect urban rail LPA combined with $400 million in highway projects.
On the surface this means there will probably be a 1 billion dollar bond on the November ballot for transportation (600 for East Austin rail and 400 for highway projects) and a 386 million dollar bond for ACC.
see here for the article on ACC's bond:
There is, however, three other hidden tax hits that are attached to this decision that you probably don't know, or haven't thought about.
First - f East Austin rail is approved by the voters then Cap Metro will also pour the concrete and put dedicated bus lanes on North Lamar/Guadalupe. Not only will this be a very expensive project, but it will mean that no rail can ever be ran down the spine of the city without an expensive redo of North Lamar/Guadalupe.
We have been trying to get out the word the about this, because we want North and North Central voters to know that a vote for East Austin rail is also a vote to put dedicated bus lanes on North Lamar/Guadalupe.
Second - Project Connect has estimated the cost to operate East Austin rail will be $22 million dollars but the Statesman has questioned their numbers and the current Red Rail has turned out to have an operating cost twice that of the projected cost:
Third - the Highway Fund that funds rail transportation is currently going broke and there is no answer in sight. We are being reassured that the Feds will help for pay East Austin rail, but I understand there is already 50 other rail projects waiting for funding (I dont have a link for this statistic, sorry). If we do not get federal funding, then it is we, as taxpayers. that will have to pay the entire 1.4 billion dollars:
Remember! It is your vote and your tax money, so please read these links and decide what is best for you and your family. Also, if this information has helped you make a more informed decision about East Austin rail, please pass along this link to your friends and neighbors. Thank you for loving North Austin!
~Mary Rudig,Editor -North Austin Community Newsletter