AUSTIN (KXAN) - The city of Austin and Capital Metro are continuing their efforts to alleviate traffic congestion on local highways.
The latest pursuit is not necessarily a new idea - but it now has a renewed interest due to the massive increase in Austin's population – urban rail.
This form of transportation has been proposed for years but now there is some momentum behind this project since the back ups just get worse and worse on the highways.
The idea is be able to move lots of commuters within the area considered the central corridor of Austin.
That area is bordered by Ranch Road 2222 to the North, Oltorf to the South, Springdale to the East and Mopac to the West.
It's home to the Capitol, the University of Texas, downtown Austin, and the Mueller development.
Right now the organization called Project Connect, which is a partnership between Capital Metro and the city of Austin, are conducting a study to figure out where the need is greatest within this corridor for the rail system.
For commuters who travel into the city from places like Round Rock or Kyle, project leaders realize this group would not be able to walk or bike to the central corridor to get on the train.
One thought is to have stations located off the highway at the most northern and southern locations so urban rail can take commuters into the city – much like it is currently done in bigger cities like Boston, Phoenix, and Atlanta.
But to make this project a reality the city needs the public's support since they will help pay for the estimated $500-million system.
"There is no funding that has been set aside. The approach that we have right now is that we would pursue federal funds for half of the project and the other half would come from local dollars from a public vote," said Kyle Keahey, Urban Rail Lead.
There are several public feedback sessions Project Connect is holding.
Thursday, September 26
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
St. David's Episcopal Church
301 E 8th Street, Austin
Thursday, September 26
5 – 8 p.m.
Givens Recreation Center
3811 E 12th Street, Austin
Friday, September 27
12 – 1 p.m.
Wednesday, October 2
5 – 8 p.m.
Norris Conference Center, Red Oak Ballroom
2525 W Anderson Lane, Austin
Project leaders hope to have a decision on which areas of the central corridor urban rail will travel through by the end of the year and then next year decide on the routes.
A bond election would have to fund urban rail.
If all goes as planned urban rail would become a reality in 2020.
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