Today the Austin City Council will act to adopt illegal ballot language to raise taxes by 24.9% for a marketing plan for one of the most extensive scams of our resident’s history: Capital Metro’s ‘Project Connect.’ The City Council is asking Austin residents—homeowners and renters alike—to pay for a $7.9 billion plan where the ballot language does not conform with the Texas Code and there have been no engineering studies or environmental studies. When the project is finished, realistic ridership studies indicate it will impact less than 1% of the mobility needs of the Austin area. Furthermore, there is no reason to believe the city will receive any federal money to offset the costs of construction.
The current revision of Project Connect Prop A ordinance does not align with Texas Code section 451.071 on building a light rail system. The Texas Code requires very specific language regarding the form of rail, the locations, and the routes of the system that are still missing from the current draft. Without a correction to the language of the Project Connect Prop A ordinance, voting Austinites will discover that their November 2020 authorization is not practicable for the purpose of building a light rail system as state law requires.
Voices of Austin member, Paul Theobald provided:
“Voices of Austin absolutely recognizes that a majority of Austinites want, and Austin needs, well planned expansions of transportation infrastructure, to include both personal and mass transit options that are practical, focus on the mobility needs of Austinites and Austin commuters, and will not raise Austinites property taxes by 25%. Austinites want transparency in the process as well, something we are not seeing from CapMetro and City Hall.”
“The forces behind Project Connect have not done environmental and engineering studies which would inform the true costs of this proposal. Put that together with the history of the Red Line, in which promised federal funds never materialized, putting Austinites on the hook for the entire project which went 233% over budget, and we believe that “Project Con” will force Austinites to pay for the entire project which will be over budget.”
The truth of this more than aggressive plan for Austin’s transportation future is that a November bond election would take vast amounts of money out of the pockets of Austin residents — homeowners and renters alike — and turn it over to an organization that has lied to the public in the past to build a system that cost too much and has accomplished too little. Instead of this railroad initiative being called Project Connect, it should be called Project Con.
In the words of Voices of Austin Executive Director, Peck Young, “In these dire economic times we do not need Project Con, especially using illegal and misleading ballot language!”
Voices of Austin (VOA) is a grassroots citizen’s organization formed to speak out on a range of issues on behalf of an overwhelming majority of Austin citizens and organizations. VOA is a registered 501c4 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. It is not a political action committee and does not endorse or oppose candidates or propositions in an election or make financial contributions to candidates or campaigns.