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The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (CapMetro) board earlier this week approved the final version of Project Connect, a plan for an expanded rail and bus system in Austin, Texas.
The $9.8 billion plan includes four new light-rail lines and additional commuter-rail stations on the MetroRail Red Line. A key component in the plan calls for construction of a transit tunnel that will separate transit services from street traffic in downtown Austin.
The approval allows CapMetro and Austin City Council officials to begin discussing project investments that will lead to a transit referendum on the November ballot, CapMetro officials said in a press release.
In August, CapMetro and city officials could take steps toward creating a joint oversight board that would administer federal and local funding and be responsible for Project Connect's construction and implementation, they said.
“With Austin's population expected to double by 2040, Project Connect is the right plan for a public transportation system capable of responding to that growth,” said CapMetro Chair Wade Cooper. “Getting final approval on the plan is a major milestone as we move forward on realizing this bold vision for Austin's future.”
Over the past two years, CapMetro staff gathered public input from nearly 60,000 community members and worked with city staff to design the transit plan. Additionally, more than 4,000 people expressed their opinions at virtual community meetings held in recent weeks.