Project Connect breaks ground on new MetroRapid bus line in East Austin

Photo of Austin area officials
Austin-area officials break ground on a new MetroRapid bus line during a ceremony at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Early College High School. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin-area officials break ground on a new MetroRapid bus line during a ceremony at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Early College High School. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)

Capital Metro broke ground on a new MetroRapid line that will connect East Austin to downtown and The University of Texas at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Early College High School during a Dec. 15 ceremony.

The Expo line is one of four new MetroRapid lines included in the Project Connect expansion of transit in Austin. The bus service will run every 15 minutes and use an electric vehicle fleet once complete, officials said.

“What's really interesting about this program, and this bus out here is a good example of it, is it'll be all run with electric buses, so zero-emission electric buses, so the air will be healthier in this area of the city; it's going to be quieter; and it's going to provide our goals of dealing with climate change here in this community,” Capital Metro President and CEO Randy Clarke said.

Additional Project Connect-funded MetroRapid lines include Pleasant Valley, which will run from Mueller to the Goodnight Ranch Park & Ride and the Gold Line, which will run from Austin Community College Highland to Republic Square, as well as extensions to the 803 route to Oak Hill and Menchaca in Southwest Austin.

Construction on the new MetroRapid lines is expected to take three to four years, according to Capital Metro documents.


Leaders from across the Austin area convened to speak about Project Connect’s importance to the local economy, environment and mobility in East Austin.

“For generations, we tried to build our city around cars. Transit became an obligatory social safety net service, a third-class option for people with no other choice to get around,” Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Harper-Madison said. “Things have been changing in recent, and they took a big step in the right direction when we gave our voters a gold-star transit plan to approve in 2020.”

They also took time to congratulate the LBJ Early College High School Jaguars’ football team, which will compete in the 4A-Division 1 state championship Dec. 17.

“It's great to know that Randy [Clarke] is developing a transportation system here that will move almost as fast as a Jaguar,” said U.S. Rep Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin.
By Benton Graham

Metro Reporter, Austin

Benton joined Community Impact Newspaper as a metro reporter covering transportation in Central Texas in June 2021. Benton's writing has appeared in Vox, The Austin Chronicle, Austonia and Reporting Texas. Originally from Minneapolis, Benton graduated from William & Mary and eventually moved to Austin in 2018.