Jun 12th 2020 | Posted in Opportunities by Texas Government Insider

Members of the Austin City Council and Capital Metro (CapMetro) board adopted the $9.8 billion Project Connect system recommendation plan on June 10 to expand public transit in Austin.

Financial estimates accounted for a 45 percent federal share that would contribute $4.4 billion to the expansion.

The system plan features three new light rail lines and enhancements to the existing commuter rail and bus lines.

Cap Metro underground tunnel CapMetro, Austin adopt $9.8B plan for light rail, subway, expansions

Rendering of Cap Metro underground tunnel

CapMetro’s Orange Line light rail is set to have 22 stations along a 21-mile track at an estimated cost of $4.2 billion. The Orange line will serve the city’s busiest activity centers such as The University of Texas-Austin (UT), the State Capitol, downtown, South Congress, and Auditorium Shores, as well as neighborhoods along North Lamar Boulevard and on South Congress Avenue.

The Blue Line light rail is projected to cost $1.3 billion and include 11 stations on 8.2 miles of track to serve neighborhoods along East Riverside Drive and major employment centers such as the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and downtown.

Gold Line light rail service will connect downtown Austin to major hospitals, UT, and the Austin Community College-Highland area. It will feature 10 stations on 6.4 miles of track at an estimated cost of $700 million.

The Green Line, which is projected to cost $370 million, would extend commuter rail service from downtown Austin to Colony Park in the first phase and east to Manor and Elgin in later phases.

Improvements to CapMetro’s Red Line rail service would provide additional capacity for both commuter rail and freight operations for an estimated $25 million.

A $2.5 billion underground tunnel will serve as a major hub for all proposed light rail lines. The Orange and Blue lines will connect at underground stations at Republic Square and other downtown locations, which also will serve customers taking the Gold Line.

Plans to expand MetroRapid bus rapid transit lines to 74 miles and 193 stations will cost an estimated $170 million.

More than $300 million would be used for maintenance facility improvements, and $100 million would go toward MetroExpress and park and ride locations.

Local funding could come from a tax rate election in November. If approved by voters, an 11-cent tax rate increase would produce an estimated $5.4 billion for system expansions and improvements.