AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin's Urban Rail plan continues to move forward, with a June deadline approaching to present specifics of the plan to the Capital Metro Board, CAMPO, and the Austin City Council.
CAMPO's Transit Working Group is trying to determine what an urban rail in Austin will look like, how it will function, who will run it and how to pay for it.
"The whole idea of bringing people in to Downtown and the core of the city with different modes, buses Metrorail and other forms and then having urban rail to be there to help distribute and move people around right there in the central city makes a whole lot of sense and we think it would work very well," said Todd Hemingson, Vice President of Strategic Planning and Development for Capital Metro.
The goal of Urban Rail is to connect Downtown destination spots like South Congress, the Long Center and the future Seaholm Power plant development to other parts of the city like the University of Texas, the Mueller Development and the airport.
City leaders hope to get a portion of the $1.2 billion cost added to a possible Transportation Bond Package in November of this year, where voters would have the opportunity to decide if the plans move forward.
"Let's start thinking outside the box- we're a weird city- let's be weird and do our own thing," said Austin resident Skip Cameron, who presented an alternative to Urban Rail to the Transit Working Group Friday.
The plan is called The Cellular Mass Transit Plan and it would divide Austin in to 30 express locations called transit centers. It would run a van or express bus every 10 minutes between those centers all day every day.
"It becomes a customer demand based system," said Cameron. "As close to the automobile as you can find with public transit- where, I want to go somewhere, I go to a place- I am picked up immediately, I am taken somewhere, I am dropped off - that's like being in your car."
Captial Metro officials said the plan needs to be developed further.
"We think it has some merits but there's also some significant challenges with some of the assumptions," said Hemingson.
A final plan for Urban Rail is expected in June.
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