Updated: Saturday, 22 Sep 2012, 10:28 PM CDT
Published : Saturday, 22 Sep 2012, 10:27 PM CDT
Is light rail the right answer for Austin's congestion woes? That was the question at one of today's transportation forums at the Texas Tribune Festival on the University of Texas campus.
With the city constantly growing and the roads quickly filling up, city leaders are now left searching for the right answer. Earlier this year, city leaders were debating adding a downtown circulator rail line to the city's November bond referendum.
The proposed rail cost an estimated $500 million and would run from Mueller to downtown, making stops at the University of Texas and the Capitol Complex.
Mayor Lee Leffingwell decided against putting it on the November ballot, but members on at a panel discussion at today's forum say there aren't any other expansion options other than urban rail.
At Saturday's Texas Tribune Festival, Austin City Council member Mike Martinez along with representatives from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the Texas Transit Institute discussed the issue.
The panel focused on looking at successful models for light rail in cities like Dallas to see if something similar would work here in Austin.
"We have a finite amount of space on our roadways so we can't expand them to meet all the growing demands," Martinez said. "So one of the ways we can meet those demands and one of the components for success is I believe is with an expanded rail service circulating downtown."