For the sake of our planet, mass transit must be high priority in our city. I strongly support Project Connect, and the Austin Transit Partnership’s commitment to community engagement through this transformation of our city. Tunneling under the river seems unnecessarily hazardous to me. In the meantime, our bus system needs vast improvement.
I propose that we:
Work with CapMet to add at least 3 commuter lines running directly to the airport, crosstown buses, and higher frequency.
Improve ridership by making private vehicles impractical. Starting with the Drag and Congress Avenue, gradually shut down the entire downtown area to personal vehicles, allowing only buses, rail, bicycles, pedestrians, clearly marked taxis, and emergency vehicles. Strategically place park-and-ride locations outside of downtown. Incentivize businesses to encourage employees by charging for parking, while offering free public transit passes.
Regarding I-35 expansion, I am absolutely against it. Cap-and-stitch is absurd; $5 billion and 10 years’ mess to displace communities for what? Burying the traffic jam will not make it go away. We should incentivize non-local trucks to use toll roads around Austin. Aside from that, I honestly can’t see spending billions, millions or even thousands to improve traffic for private vehicles when that money should be spent on public transit.
Pay for this by taxing corporations that are using our resources. They need to pay their fair share. As a teacher I was always faced with doing more with less and asking for donations from the community as a matter of routine. The RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD has built a factory literally inches upriver from our water supply and is getting a tax-free ride from Travis County. Let’s ask him to step up and be a hero. Supply us with a fleet of electric buses. It can’t hurt to ask.