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Build Greater Austin and Capital Metro

A quick hit - since I missed this story due to scaling back to weekend-only service, I never got to comment on this piece:

So the budget released last Monday for the 2007 budget year, which begins Oct. 1, eliminated the $6.6 million Austin portion (and a tiny amount that would have gone to Leander).

Left undisturbed, at the request of Capital Metro board member Fred Harless, was $1.1 million for the suburban communities in Capital Metro's service area that won't have rail stops.

Austin City Council Member Jennifer Kim has been agitating for Capital Metro to keep giving Austin $2.4 million of the $6.6 million. The city says it's been falling behind on routine street maintenance and Kim's request would fill that gap.

Councilmember Kim is exactly right, albeit for the wrong reasons. If it's justifiable to leave the suburban money in there, Austin should keep a big chunk of its money too, since this commuter rail project barely serves Austin at all compared to Leander. It doesn't go anywhere near central Austin residential areas, nor to UT, the Capitol, or downtown, so the only practical beneficiaries of this line are Leander residents who don't mind riding shuttle buses.

In short, the people who pay Capital Metro's bills (i.e. central Austinites) aren't getting rail stations - and, therefore, should probably be keeping this BGA money; or at least, most of it. And thanks to the fact that Austin gets screwed by having to maintain a much, much larger percentage of major roads than do our suburban friends, we already have less money to spare on things like sidewalks, which is why the BGA money was so darn useful.

I'll try to get around to writing a new, updated, version of "M1EK'S SUPER-POSITIVE HAPPY FUN PLAN" in response to comments on the last posting sometime this week.

This entry was posted in the following categories: Austin , Don't Hurt Us Mr. Krusee, We'll Do Whatever You Want , Transit in Austin , Transportation , Walking in Austin (Pedestrian Issues)

Comments

I expect it to come with the requisite disclaimers, such as "Do not taunt happy fun plan."

The plan can be the "hyper-negative depressing as sh*t" plan for all I care. I'm even up for helping to kick one around, if it would move things along. I just hate to see you and NuPro get bummed out over where Austin's heading. I'd rather see the energy turned into something good instead of wasted.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to tonight's MONAC meeting about Transit-Oriented Development. [Tuesday, September 12, 2006, 6:30 pm at Westminster Manor - Harris Bell Hall (Park in north parking lot and enter through the Health Care Center, ask directions to Harris Bell Hall), 4100 Jackson Avenue.]

Glenn,

The problem is that the only viable starter rail segment for this city has been precluded by commuter rail. Me saying "stop commuter rail in its tracks; cancel the contracts for those vehicles (which are incompatible with street-running)" may feel good, but I know it ain't gonna happen.

The people who thought they could 'improve' commuter rail after the '04 election into something that operated much like light rail are the most frustrating part of this. I think I made everybody's ears bleed with arguments why that wasn't really possible -- some technology/routing decisions simply preclude others; but nobody beyond a half-dozen readers of this blog fucking listened; instead falling into typical naivete.

So there's nothing really to 'get behind' - my plan all along was to keep reminding people that there were people who knew better who said "no, this is a bad idea", so that the dark ages of rail disaster are shortened somewhat. Kind of like storing works of literature in monestaries - didn't do anything in the short or medium-term.