The election will not ask voters to fund the $10 billion plan all at once. Instead, it will phase in the plan, first asking for enough tax revenue to fund a $7.1 billion portion, and leaving the rest of the improvements to future funding decisions.
The major elements of the plan are two light rail lines: one connecting North Austin, South Austin and the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to downtown, and an underground rail station that would take train cars away from vehicle traffic.
Capital Metro and the city expect about $3.85 billion of the initial plan to be funded by local tax dollars, with the remaining 45% projected to be covered by the federal government. To raise that money, the city will ask voters to approve a tax rate increase of $0.0875 per $100 valuation, or about $344 per year for the owner of a $362,000 home, the median value in the city.
Council members approved the decision unanimously and expressed their public support for the project ahead of the vote.
District 6 Council Member Jimmy Flannigan said the financing method will help Austin avoid the mistakes of other cities, which he said have set themselves up for failure by not starting with a model that is sustainable in the long term.
"The money will not just pay to build [the system]; it will not just pay to operate it; but it will ensure its continued operation into the future for many generations," Flannigan said.
The proposition language on the ballot, according to the resolution council adopted, will read as follows.