TRAVIS COUNTY (KXAN) — A new rail line could be coming to the Austin area. This week Capital Metro proposed running a train between Downtown Austin and Manor.
It’s a new option that would cut commute times in half for a section of Travis County that the agency says has been historically ignored.
“A lot of people, particularly low to moderate-incomed people, are being pushed out of the city,” Travis County Commissioner Jeffrey Travillion said.
Commissioner Travillion has seen a change in Austin over the years. He’s seeing more people flock to affordable housing in northeast Travis County, in particular.
“It is less expensive to live in those communities, however, many of those communities don’t have access to public transportation.”
A board member for CapMetro, he sees potential in a plan to create a new green line for those commuters. “These are folks who use the bus as a car. So we are trying to make sure they have as many options as they can to get downtown,” Travillion said.
The green line would run from downtown Austin, pass U.S. 183, up through Colony Park before finishing in Manor, thereby providing a quicker route for those who normally take the bus.
There’s already a long set of tracks used for this proposed green line. This rail is already being used to transport freight throughout Travis County. The money needed would go towards making it safe for commuters.
Travillion said if approved, it would cost somewhere between $250 and $300 million dollars. That cost would be split up between funds from the federal transit authority and local tax dollars.
“I really feel like the public transportation system has gotten a lot better,” said Tracey Torres, who rides the bus every day.
Torres said she’s not convinced our community needs a shiny new rail. “They already put that other one in and I never use it. I tried to use it before and it’s not cost-efficient.”
Others say they’ll do anything for a quicker commute.
“It would get me there on time, rather than taking the bus because the bus would be stuck in traffic,” said Desmond Barr-Jones, who also rides the bus everyday.
In the end, the county insists it will listen to the people to give them what they truly need.