New Proposal Calls on Billions for Public Transit

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New Proposal Calls on Billions for Public Transit

A group of Austin community organizers has released a lofty proposal to address the future of mobility in Austin.

Known as the 'Wheel Deal,' it's the brainchild of three Austinites: Susan Somers with the Urban Transportation Commission, Chito Vela, an immigration attorney and former planning commissioner, and community activist Julio Gonzalez Altamirano.  It's said to have been entirely volunteer driven, with issues such as climate change also driving this proposal.

Currently, the tab for the Wheel Deal is more than $5.36-million-dollars.  That's for the whole package -- bus, rail, bikes, etc.  But it's the light rail component that accounts for the largest chunk of change. 

The proposed Orange Line, connecting Tech Ridge to Slaughter, would cost $3.1-billion.  The Blue Line, connecting Central Austin to the airport, would cost $1.2-billion.

The plan also includes a network of protected bike lanes to the tune of $350-million, as well as an additional $350-million for sidewalks, and $10-million for more shade options.

As of now, the Austin City Council has not officially been presented with the plan, nor has it decided on whether it will actually pursue a 2020 bond election.  Nevertheless, the group is anticipating a bond will be called, and is getting this plan out there many months ahead of time.

The City of Austin does have a goal of reducing the number of people commuting each day in their own car by 50-percent by the year 2039.

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