"Pass commuter rail and then work for light rail"
Excerpted from a comment I made on David Nunez' site:
I've explained a couple of times why you can't get light rail after this plan is passed. From the technical obstacles (incompatible trackage prevents original '00 route up the existing rail ROW to northwest areas) to the political (a revised northeasterly route continuing purely in-street up Lamar would suck for speed AND would necessitate essentially shutting down the intersection of Lamar and Airport).
Please don't keep misleading people, whomever you are.
As for the success of the starter line - again, every first line which has succeeded in this country has delivered people within walking distance of their destinations. Once you have the choice commuters used to using rail transit, you can start hitting them with transfers, but NOT at first; they'll stay in their cars.
Here's the rub: If this first line, with shuttlebuses and all, doesn't pull a lot of car-drivers out of their cars, THERE WILL NOT BE ANY MORE RAIL IN THIS AREA IN OUR LIFETIMES. The voters will vote down any expansions of a system which already "showed" that people "don't want to ride trains in Austin".
I can't make this any more clear, folks. The starter line absolutely MUST pull in a bunch of choice commuters for it to succeed. Buffalo and Miami showed what happens when it relies on transfers - car owners stay away, and then voters aren't interested in more rail.