From Future Mobility: Shaping the Transportation Bonds
Author: Katherine Gregor
Date: March 25th, 2010
Leffingwell and Shade said they intend to continue pursuing at least $400 million in bondable transportation improvements. Shade outlined a plan to divide the total 50-50, with $200 million devoted to the Austin Urban Rail "streetcar" project and $200 million for all other modes. It's the nonrail $200 million that Leffingwell is proposing to split over two bond elections. (The mayor characterized all of these dollar amounts as "rough-cut" estimates.) Austinites would vote on $100 million in road, bike/pedestrian, and trail projects alone in 2010. In the next election, they would vote on a second $100 million in such improvements, bundled with $200 million for the rail project, for a total of $300 million more that year. However, no one yet knows the projected cost to build the (still undetermined) first phase of a streetcar system. Elected officials and top city staff have said that to truly improve mobility, Austin needs a comprehensive circulator system – funded and built out over 20 years or more – that serves key destinations in the central city.
For this November, how will the investments be spread among road, bicycle, pedestrian, and trail projects? Leffingwell said he had no specific plan or suggested percentages as yet. Interviewed March 16, Gordon Derr, assistant director of the Transportation Department, said his department is working on a transportation-projects selection process to prioritize and rank all proposed projects. Spokeswoman Karla Villalon said community values and objectives, as expressed during recent Strategic Mobility Plan community forums and other outreach efforts, will strongly shape that process.