Austin could hire 35 new transportation workers to tackle projects from 2020 bond

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, Austin City Council could approve more than $1 million to start improving area roadways as part of the voter-approved Proposition B.

The money would help the Austin Transportation Department and Public Works hire 35 new employees, mostly engineering and planning staff, and it’s all part of the $460 million Proposition B passed in the November 2020 election.

The proposition is aimed at improving all kinds of traffic infrastructure around the city — such as bike lanes, sidewalks, urban trails and streets — and the bond money is divided up into several sections.

The largest chunk of the money, $102 million, is allocated for “major capital improvements,” like improvements to the Longhorn Dam bridge, Congress Avenue and South Pleasant Valley Road.

Approximately $80 million is set aside for sidewalk improvements, another $80 million is for urban trails and $20 million is for safer routes to schools, among other projects.

Transportation officials say no matter the price tag on a project, they all fit together and are intended to make Austin safer.

“Often the smallest project makes the biggest difference in someone’s everyday life like a safe path to help your kids get to school every day can make a big difference,” said Anna Martin with the Austin Transportation Department.

The city plans to break ground on projects early in 2022 while the current year is for planning and design. Once the shovels go into the ground, a six-year clock will start to tick for all the projects to be completed.

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