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AUSTIN -- The Austin City Council and Capital Metro board unanimously approved the Project Connect System Plan today. The plan included over 30 miles over light rail transit connecting North and South Austin with Downtown and the airport. Expanded MetroRapid and MetroExpress bus routes with zero-emissions electric buses.
“Transit is much like trees, it’s fantastic for the environment, the best time to plant it would have been twenty years ago, but the second best time is right this second” said Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG Director in his testimony to the City Council and the Cap Metro Board today. “Project Connect is a generational opportunity to transform this city to better serve the public. For the climate, for our air, for transit equity, for essential workers, and the public good, we must get this done.”
Cap Metro has engaged nearly 60,000 community members throughout this process. In a round of virtual community meetings this month, 90% of participants think the system plan creates a more accessible transit service and that the new transit lines should be built. In a third party survey by the Sherry Matthews group, 71% of respondents support Project Connect after seeing the funding source could be property tax.
Earlier this year, TexPIRG Education Fund, started the group, Students for Transit, at the UT Austin campus. Before the school switched to remote learning, the group held weekly meetings, volunteer activities and collected over 2,500 student signatures in support of Project Connect’s vision for high capacity transit.
“Project Connect will help us get around, improve our quality of life, and mitigate the worst aspects of climate change” says Lauren Banister, TexPIRG Transportation Associate. “Between the enthusiasm of our students members, two unanimous votes and the testimony and data presented today, all evidence points to an overwhelming desire to transform our transportation network in Austin."
TexPIRG Education Fund supports the Project Connect system plan and education efforts as part of its Transform Transportation campaign. Recent victories include getting CapMetro to commit to a fully electric fleet and working with our sister group, TexPIRG, to support the passage of the METRONext bond in Houston.
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