Unanswered Questions on Austin’s Urban Rail Proposal
Question marks surround Austin’s urban-rail proposal, as city council meets this week to discuss it. We got some details from the city last week about the plan, including the price tag of Phase 1 – about half a billion dollars.
The route would go from the convention center downtown, north to UT and on to the Mueller development. But many details are still unclear, including annual operating expenses. KUT’s Nathan Bernier spoke with transportation reporter Ben Wear with the Austin-American Statesman about the proposal.
They said at that meeting last week that it would be $16 million a year to start and would grow at about 3 percent per year. But they say fares will only produce about 15 percent of that. The rest of it is pretty much a gap at this point. They haven’t figured out exactly how they’re going to do that.
At some point, you have to get an idea – is 10,000 rides a day a big number? Is 20,000 rides a day a large number? They’ve got to tell us what they think this will do and then people have to decide for themselves, if we’re asked to vote on this, “Does that number make sense to me? Is that worth the investment?”
Wear says we should know by late August whether the city’s $275 million share for urban rail project will be included in a bond package for a public vote in November.