A $720 million ballot measure is going before voters Nov. 8, Austin City Council decided at its regular meeting Aug. 18.
The bond program contains various projects to improve mobility throughout the city, such as sidewalk construction, bus pullout lanes and regional roadwork.
After a unanimous vote on Aug. 11, the measure passed on final reading with District 1 Council Member Ora Houston voting against the measure and abstentions from Delia Garza, Don Zimmerman and Ellen Troxclair—districts 2, 6 and 8, respectively.
“Today the council took an important step to address traffic congestion and our other mobility challenges,” Mayor Steve Adler said in a statement. “These corridor plans have been sitting on the shelf long enough. It’s time to do the work.”
During the August meetings council amended the “local mobility” portion of the proposal by moving $4 million from urban trails and $6 million from improving substandard streets to sidewalk improvements.
A late push for light rail to be included on the ballot failed to generate enough support among council members because of a lack of success passing such proposals in the past. In November 2014, voters defeated a $1 billion bond that included light rail. Voters will decide whether to approve the bond as one ballot measure, not separate propositions.
The city of Austin’s $720 million mobility bond is composed of three categories of improvement projects. The largest of the three is the proposal to implement the city’s seven corridor plans, a nearly $500 million set of projects. The all-or-nothing proposition will be voted on as one ballot measure in the election Nov. 8. Early voting is Oct. 24-Nov. 4. On Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Visit www.traviscountyclerk.org for information on polling sites.[/caption]
If approved, the $720 million bond proposition would increase Austin’s debt service portion of its tax rate by 2.25 cents. If the cost were implemented at once, it would cost city of Austin taxpayers an additional $56 per year, or less than $5 per month, based on a median-valued home of $250,000. Below is the cost of the bond to taxpayers based on the median home price from each council district.[/caption]
What’s on the ballot?
“The issuance of $720,000,000 transportation and mobility improvement bonds and notes for improvements to Loop 360 corridor, Spicewood Springs Road, Old Bee Caves Road Bridge, Anderson Mill Road, intersection of RM 620 and RM 2222, Parmer Lane, North Lamar Boulevard, Burnet Road, Airport Boulevard, East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard/FM 969, South Lamar Boulevard, East Riverside Drive, Guadalupe Street, Slaughter Lane, William Cannon Drive, Rundberg Lane, East Colony Park Loop Road, South Congress Avenue, Manchaca and South Pleasant Valley Road; sidewalks, Safe Routes to School, urban trails, bikeways, fatality reduction strategies, and the following local mobility substandard streets/capital renewal projects: Falwell Lane, William Cannon Overpass Bridge, FM 1626, Cooper Lane, Ross Road, Circle S Road, Rutledge Spur, Davis Lane, Latta Drive/Brush Country, Johnny Morris Road, and Brodie Lane; and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.”
Enhancements to the Loop 360 corridor would be funded by the bond.[/caption]
What would approving it do?
It would authorize City Council to issue general obligation bonds or notes to fund planning, designing, engineering, constructing, reconstructing, renovating or improving the following:
- Roads, streets, sidewalks, bridges, bikeways and other bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure
- Traffic signal control systems as well as acquiring and installing traffic signals
- Planning, designing, engineering, constructing, reconstructing, renovating and improving drainage facilities related to the improvements
- Acquire land and interests in land and property necessary for the improvements