AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Wednesday, the Austin Transit Partnership held an event to provide information on the construction of the Project Connect light rail system.
The program included remarks from Greg Canally, the ATP executive director, and panel discussions on the makeup of the project and how to work with local Austin vendors and small businesses.
Earlier this week, ATP unveiled its chosen route for the light rail.
KXAN spoke with Canally regarding Project Connect.
Canally said there were a few more steps that needed to be taken before the project could get final adoption, which he said could happen in the coming weeks.
“We want to make sure that we’re continuing to do the right planning, the right community work out there, talking to neighbors, as we advance this project,” Canally said. “And most importantly, we’ve got to keep working with the federal government. The federal government is going to provide about half of all the cost to build this.”
Canally said ATP’s focus was on progressing with the project and creating jobs for Austin.
“Our goal and our focus is really on advancing this project. Austin is so excited. We just went through a fantastic community engagement program and process and what we heard loud and clear from Austin is it’s time to get moving on getting this great light rail project done for Austin. That’s what I’m focused on every day,” Canally said.
KXAN also spoke with two members of the Project Connect Community Advisory Committee — Awais Azhar and J.P. Connolly.
“People are excited. They want to see the first light rail for the city of Austin. They want to make sure that this all comes together in a way that supports them,” Azhar said. “So, of course, there’s a lot of work to be done in the future, but what staff has presented and what we’re looking at right now has people really excited, and it very much aligns with a lot of the conversations that were happening in the community.”
“I think it’s also very important that we not forget that Project Connect is more than just light rail. It is also a bus rapid transit systems that will serve further east Austin that will reach other parts of town,” Connolly said. “And now that we have a light rail spine that we know we’re moving forward with, we can have really meaningful and robust conversations about how to realign our bus network to best serve core transit riders and people who most need it. So, I think on the whole this is positive.”