AUSTIN (KXAN) - It's a busy election year for Austin, and city leaders are out to educate voters.
Local politicians and community activists spoke openly about big ballot items in a town hall meeting Wednesday morning at the Long Center. KXAN partnered with Leadership Austin to host the event. Evening news anchors Robert Hadlock and Leslie Rhode were the moderators.
The panelists addressed matters regarding transportation, affordable housing, and healthcare, to name a few. The City of Austin has $385-million worth of bond proposals on the November ballot. Of that amount, $143.3 million are slated for transportation projects, $78.3 million for affordable housing projects, and $77.7 million for parks and recreation.
"We need to make that investment, especially in transportation" said Austin mayor pro tem Sheryl Cole. "It is leveraged with federal dollars to allow us to do improvements on things like Interstate 35."
"Twenty years ago we were the cheapest big city in Texas," said Mike Clark-Madison, vice president of public policy for Hahn Texas. "Now, we're the most expensive. People really understand that it's a problem."
Health care advocates are lobbying for a medical school and teaching hospital in Austin, which would make 2012 a landmark year.
"This will be known as the year we expanded medical services in Austin and built the medical school," said Jason Stanford of Stanford Campaigns. "We are going to become a medical center, which is going to drive our economy."
There were some entertaining moments when the conversation shifted towards national politics, but the overriding message was to increase voter turnout.
"People have to get out there and vote," added Stanford, a veteran Democratic strategist. "Texas is last in the country in voting participation, and that has to change."
KXAN will air the town hall in its entirety Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. Leadership Austin's next Engage breakfast meeting is Nov. 14 at the Long Center.
An armed robbery in South Austin set off a search for two men with guns early Friday morning.
A local road project more than two decades in the making won't save drivers as much time as many had hoped.
The University of Texas Board of Regents adjourned Thursday without taking action on the job status of embattled UT President Bill Powers.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since reports surfaced this week that he could be stepping down.
Two men were arrested and a third was being sought by police for the shooting death of 47-year-old Russell Martens.
Parking arrangements are a bit different this year at Austin's Trail of Lights, but there are options to suit just about anybody.