Capital Metro has conducted no studies on the impact of traffic congestion so we have no idea what impact this project will have on the environment. We have no reason to believe it will do anything for us other than make us permanently pay 24.6% to 26.2% more in property taxes to pay for their trains. Further we are likely to have another property tax increase to pay for the operation and maintenance costs of the trains because this tax can’t pay to both build and operate Project Connect! The question is who will really benefit from this election, because it won’t be the people of Austin!
The answer is the big campaign donors who have given thousands of dollars to the Mayors train political action committee (PAC)!
Elected officials and Capital Metro are ‘gaslighting’ voters with a marketing campaign disguised as social justice. And they’re doing it with money invested by big land developers and other special interests.
City government can’t use public funds in its campaign for Project Connect’s Prop A, so its PAC, Mobility for All, has turned to companies and people who will profit from building a new multi-billion-dollar transit line to finance the campaign.
Based on contributions and expense reports filed with the Austin City Clerk by Mobility for All, some of the biggest supporters of the PAC are:
- HNTB Transportation Engineering firm with $155,000
- Austin FC soccer team with $100,000
- Brandywine Operating Partnership with $100,000
- Endeavour Real Estate Group with $100,000
- HDR Engineering Transportation, working for CapMetro, with $60,000
- AECOM Engineering firm, working for CapMetro, with $100,000
According to Peck Young, Executive Director of Voices of Austin, “This is $615,000, or nearly 60% of all donations from six donors, all expecting to profit from Project Connect.”
The three transportation engineering firms have a lot to gain from Project Connect because they have a chance to win contracts to build the transit lines. In fact, two of them already work for CapMetro.
The Austin FC soccer team will profit from a special rail stop planned at their stadium, even though they will not pay City taxes for 50 years. Land developers like Endeavour and Brandywine will gain from the ‘revitalization’ that would follow 15 years of construction and the city’s gentrification “up-zonings” along the routes.
Project Con’s Prop A isn’t about transportation. There are no studies to back up claims about reducing congestion or improving the environment. It is a plan that will permanently raise homeowner taxes by 24.6% and rental home taxes by at least 26.2%.
The real question now is how many jobs will it destroy with street-closings and business disruptions while they dig tunnels and lay track? City officials have super-charged gentrification by refusing to give homeowners all the tax relief the law allows.
Young stated: “This is nothing but corporate greed. If you’re truly concerned about the elderly and disabled, you would give $645,000 to a charity like the Salvation Army. This is not about providing jobs or decent wages. It’s about investing in your business’ future by donating $645,000 to the Mayor’s train PAC.”
Simply put, Project Connect’s Prop A isn’t so much to help Austinites. It’s about filling the pockets of the supporters of Mobility for All.
Voices of Austin (VofA) is a grassroots citizen’s organization formed to speak out for the vast majority of Austin citizens and organizations. VofA is a registered 501c4 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. It is not a political action committee and will not endorse or oppose candidates or propositions in an election or make financial contributions to candidates or campaigns.
News Media Contact: DeVondolyn Arrington, Press Secretary
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