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Capital Metro will hold a series of meetings starting Sept. 25 to solicit public opinions on the next phase of Project Connect: the Central Corridor study, officials for the Austin, Texas-based agency announced on Friday.Public feedback will be used to lay the groundwork for selecting the region's next transit investment, officials said in a press release. The meetings will be held Sept. 25-27 and Oct. 2. The Central Corridor is home to several major attractions, including the Capitol Complex, University of Texas, downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake, the future UT-Dell Medical School and the Austin City Limits Music Festival.Meanwhile, Capital Metro officials announced earlier this month the agency was awarded an $11.3 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) V grant, which the agency will use to advance rail improvements, such as increasing train speed and beginning or completing state-of-good repair projects. The grant also provides the agency with the flexibility to make future service enhancements, agency officials said.The TIGER V funds will help cover the cost of:• rail and signal timing improvements that will help reduce vehicle delays and rail-traffic congestion;• commuter-rail enhancements, including additional sidings and double tracking in the most critical areas, which are projected to increase commuter-rail ridership capacity by 15 percent and reduce commute times by five to 10 minutes; and • freight-rail enhancements, including the replacement of several bridges, and rail rehabilitation and realignments that will increase speeds and enhance safety while doubling freight capacity and improving reliability.
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