To link people to jobs, invest in underserved areas and connect to affordable housing options, it is clear to the Austin Transit Partnership (ATP): there must be light rail from 38th Street to Oltorf Street to Yellow Jacket Lane.
"This option actually serves the greatest share of Black, indigenous and people of color, as well as the most affordable housing units," said Lindsay Wood, the executive vice president of engineering and construction for the ATP.
This will be the first phase of the Austin Light Rail implementation plan. It is almost 10 miles of new light rail across 15 stations. ATP leaders estimate it will serve 28,500 daily riders by 2040, and the anticipated capital cost of the project ranges between $4.5 to $4.8 billion.
So, how will this be financed?
Voters approved to build and fund the operations of the light rail three years ago as part of Project Connect. The ATP will also use federal grants.
"We don't need any additional revenue," said Greg Canally, executive director of the ATP.
The ATP estimates the light rail will serve more than 20,000 affordable housing units and bring access to more than 136,000 current jobs and more than 200,000 future jobs.
Now that the U.S. Census Bureau has ranked Austin as one of the top 10 largest cities by population, Wood believes Austinites like herself can use this light rail as a chance to "reclaim" their city.
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