No action was taken during June 3 meeting, but council members asked staff to collect more data regarding Capital Metro in Leander such as the price per rider, ridership information and costs for alternative transportation options. The goal is for citizens to make a decision rather than council members, Council Member Chris Czernek said.
“We want to get information. We want to make a good decision. We want to give you a choice,” Czernek said at the meeting.
Leander residents voted to join Capital Metro in 1985 with 42 of 70 total votes in favor, according to the city. Another election was held in 2000 in which 66.5% of voters chose to continue service. Leander City Council previously considered leaving Capital Metro in 2019 and to stop rail and bus services in the city.
Council members and City Manager Rick Beverlin also discussed requesting commuter bus and rail studies.
Czernek said some people believe the city will lose businesses without Capital Metro, but he said the city is also losing business because Leander does not have the economic development funds to compete with neighboring cities.
Council Member Kathryn Pantalion-Parker said no one wants to remove service without a replacement available.
“The perception versus reality hasn’t been clear with the general public, and that’s our fault,” Pantalion-Parker said.
Pantalion-Parker said if the city should find a less expensive alternative if available. Capital Metro has a 1% sales tax in the city, which is equal to the 1% sales tax that the city receives.
“I don’t think anyone can argue we’re not getting the value that we’re paying,” Pantalion-Parker said.
In order to put the decision on a ballot, City Council would need to approve an ordinance to call an election, according to the city. If council chooses, the deadline to call a November election is Aug. 16.
Capital Metro was formed in 1985 with Austin, Leander, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Manor, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Point Venture, Volente, San Leanna, West Lake Hills and Rollingwood as members, according to previous Community Impact Newspaper reporting. West Lake Hills, Rollingwood, Cedar Park, Pflugerville and Volente are no longer members.