Austin has an incredible opportunity to pass a transformational investment in public transportation this November. Proposition A will significantly expand transportation options in Austin, adding rail lines along major corridors and out to the airport, a transit center downtown, and a transit-only tunnel under the Colorado River. Better still, Prop A will be a huge step forward for clean air and climate action in Austin.
Ask anyone from Austin, and they’ll likely say their options are pretty limited when deciding how to get around town. Maybe they have a car and drive, or maybe they rely on the patchwork of limited transit options, like buses and scooters, to get around.
Even though Austin is the 11th largest city in the U.S., its transit agency, Capital Metro, gave fewer rides than 39 other transit agencies across the country in 2016, sandwiched between Plantation, Florida and Mount Vernon, NY.
Pollution from cars and trucks on the road leads to dirtier air, a worsening climate, and public health implications. In Austin, transportation is the biggest source of smog-forming pollution, and in 2018, Austin experienced 124 days -- over four months -- of unsafe air. Transportation also produces over a third of all climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions in Austin. But by adding more transit options, we could avert 109 million vehicle miles of travel annually, reducing smog-forming pollution by 30 tons and global warming pollution by 43,000 tons every year.
We don’t need to be stuck with a dirty and out-of-date transportation system anymore. Our local transit agency, Capital Metro, has a fix called Project Connect, and it’s on the ballot this November.
Project Connect will expand bus service and add rail lines along the Guad/Lamar corridor, from downtown to East Austin, and out to the airport, while building a brand new downtown transit center and a transit-only tunnel under the river. The trains will be clean, electric and, by 2030, so will all the buses! These improvements will make it easier to get around, reduce traffic, and clean our air. Regardless of whether you’d travel by bus, train, or car, you will benefit from less traffic and better air.
Austin has a fantastic opportunity to take a huge step towards a cleaner, greener future this fall by investing in a transit system that will be healthier, safer, and better for the planet. So remember, vote yes on Prop A on November 3.
*Political advertisement by Environment Texas, a project of Environment America.