AUSTIN (KXAN) - Capital Metro was awarded an $11.3 million federal grant as part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) discretionary grant program.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, former mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, was on had to award the grant to improve rail service in Austin.
The grant will allow Capital Metro to advance a number of rail improvements, including increasing the speed at which MetroRail trains operate, which will reduce commute times by five to 10 minutes.
“I am thrilled that we are able to bring this substantial federal grant back to our region to help enhance our transit system,” said Capital Metro President and CEO Linda S. Watson. “This funding will go a long way towards helping the agency provide high quality service to its customers in many areas, including adding capacity on MetroRail, where ridership has more than tripled since 2010 and is standing-room-only during peak hours.”
In Foxx's speech, he commended the City of Austin for thinking of the future.
"We will be defined in this period of time as a country by whether we can connect every citizen to the 21st century economy," said Foxx. "The investments you have made here in Austin are critical and important given the growth and congestion that's been talked about."
At the event, Foxx also continued to push for infrastructure projects that the Obama administration believes will help the country continue to move forward.
"This is not a partisan issue. I have yet to go on a road that's a Democratic or Republican road, or to go over a pothole that has a partisan dent to it," said Foxx. "Infrastructure is how this country became the envy of the globe and it is how we will maintain our advantage in the future."
According to INRIX, Austin is now the 4th most congested area in the country -- which wasn't loss on the crowd at the announcement.
"You don't have to spend much time in our city to realize the congestion has the potential to derail our future [pun intended]," joked Mayor Lee Leffingwell.
"Public transportation isn't just about moving people from point A to point B," explained Councilman and Capital Metro Board Chairman, Mike Martinez. "It is the way to grow your city, it is the way to improve your city, and that's exactly what we've embarked upon here in Austin."
A man is dead after being hit by several vehicles in the eastbound lane of Highway 71 Saturday night.
APD is responding to a 25 vehicle accident near the 5400 block of Ed Bluestein near Thurgood Ave.
A representative at the Fayette County Sheriff's office said that Fayette County is effectively shut down due to icy conditions.
The Austin City Council is set to vote Thursday on design changes for the Auditorium Shores Dog Park.
Bryce Petty threw touchdown passes on the first two drives of the second half for No. 9 Baylor and the Bears won their first Big 12 title and a Fiesta Bowl berth with a 30-10 victory over No. 23 Texas on Saturday.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.