Austin City Council, CapMetro approve agreement to make separate group to manage Project Connect

KXAN Live

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin City Council and Capital Metro Board of Directors approved an agreement to create an independent government organization to oversee Project Connect.

The agreement was approved by both entities unanimously in a joint meeting Friday afternoon. The group would be called the Austin Transit Partnership.

ATP will work with city council, CapMetro and the Austin community “to design and construct the initial investment in Project Connect and transit-supportive infrastructure.”

In the coming weeks, Austin City Council is also expected to order an election to approve the Project Connect tax rate, according to CapMetro. That would give voters a chance to decide on an 8.75 cent tax rate increase for homeowners in November.

City council and CapMetro also adopted two resolutions. One includes guidance on investments in anti-displacement strategies for the community and contracting processes to support local businesses that work on the project. The other “commits the CapMetro Capital Expansion Fund as an investment in Project Connect.”

City council did not approve a bond election to potentially help pay for the $7.1 billion plan. About 45% of the cost, around $3.5 billion, is expected to be covered by the federal government, leaving the remainder of $3.85 billion to be picked up locally.

The CEO of Capital Metro, Randy Clarke, joined KXAN anchors Will DuPree and Amanda Dugan, Friday morning, to talk about updates to Project Connect.

Capital Metro stated it has $73 million earmarked in its fiscal year 2021 budget to help pay for the project.

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