AUSTIN (KXAN) — There’s nothing like a deadline where $50 million dollars is at stake. Austin is looking at just that.
Tuesday, Mayor Steve Adler, members of city council and other local leaders hosted a conversation with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to make a final pitch on why Austin should receive a grant for transportation issues.
Some explained why Austin’s transportation needs would best utilize the grant and what steps are being taken to keep the city cutting edge in the world of transportation. Some of Austin’s challenges were also addressed. Council member Pio Renteria explained that the number of college students and low income families living in his district make investing in alternate transportation a priority.
“I’m focusing a lot on trails and bicycle lanes so we can have a safe alternative way for college students and those who are low income.”
Secretary Foxx will be visiting the seven nominated cities this week. He says Austin’s significant population growth, the amount of semis transporting along I-35 and the need for alternate transportation as the main problems the city faces.
“You have a growing challenge of suburban poverty, which is another challenge we highlighted beyond traffic,” Foxx said.
Many reacted with concern to the recent departure of Uber and Lyft, worried it will affect Austin’s chances for the grant.
“I wouldn’t be here if Austin weren’t a strong contender in the challenge, so that remains true and it will stay true. We are waiting on the application when it comes in and we are looking forward to seeing what Austin wants to do when it grows up,” the secretary said.
The city that wins the grant will have the opportunity to help create a first of its kind city that uses data, technology and creativity to shape how people move in the future. The winner of the Smart Cities grant will be announced in June. Click here to look at Austin’s pitch.