AUSTIN (KXAN) — With the first investment light rail route for Project Connect approved, the Austin Transit Partnership is seeking volunteers to help guide anti-displacement and equity matters as part of the transit entity’s community advisory committee.
ATP is accepting applications through Nov. 17 to serve on the board. The committee is responsible for helping shape and oversee displacement prevention efforts, design principles to support people of all abilities, relay and aid in any community questions on design and construction efforts along with community involvement opportunities.
Courtney Chavez, the senior vice president of equity and community partnerships at ATP, told KXAN the 11 community members who have sat on the inaugural committee helped focus on equity concepts like land use and housing development along the project corridor.
“[The CAC was] directly involved in the conversations around the changes to the initial light rail implementation plan and provided their own advisory report as a result of that,” Chavez added. “They sit beside us on all topics that really impact community as we keep going through this project.”
New applicants approved to serve on the CAC this January will commit to either two-year or four-year terms, drawing straws for term lengths, CAC documents detail. A complete breakdown of eligibility requirements is available online.
Following the adoption of a Phase 1 of light rail back in June, ATP officials are now beginning work on a multi-year federal funding and environmental approval process with the Federal Transit Administration. The federal funding process is expected to take approximately two years, running concurrently with a comprehensive environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act.
Over the next few years, Chavez said the CAC will be involved in those federal processes in addition to anti-displacement strategies and equitable transit development.
While seeking applicants, Chavez said ATP is looking for those who come from a wide range of backgrounds and have experience either using transit services themselves or working in land use and housing policy efforts.
“Our goal in this process, in the application process, is to really ensure that we have a diverse representation that mirrors the diversity of Austin as a community and as a whole,” she said.