Austin Local News
Austin City Council keeps Smart Trips program alive
(KLBJ FILE PHOTO)
Austin's Transportation Department looks for money from City Council to tell people to walk or take mass transit.
Not enough people are taking busses, trains and other forms of transit that are not single-occupant vehicles. The City's transportation department director Robert Spillar wants to change that, especially in areas like Central Austin where there are lots of potential riders not taking advantage. "we identify those as high opportunities to get people to change their behavior, and that's what this project is about."
Austin wants to get more people to take alternate forms of transit besides their cars and so the transportation department wants $300 thousand taxpayer dollars to keep spreading the word. Spillar says they're targeting specific areas for this Smart Trips Program outreach effort. "Where we know there is good accessibility to multi modal transportation but yet the use of that is proportionately low compared to the amount of opportunity that they have."
Smart Trips aims to educate residents about multiple modes of available transportation. Council member Ora Houston likes the idea but not the tab. "When I worked at the Austin State School we did that for people who lived there to get them accustomed to going back and forth to work. But I don't know that we paid me or anybody else $300 thousand dollars a year to do that. That's a pretty high cost for that."
Council voted 7-2 to give them the money with Ora Houston and Ellen Troxclair voting against.