Here's what's next for Austin's $720M mobility bond

Voters weighed in on the $720 mobility bond in November.

Voters weighed in on the $720 mobility bond in November.

On Nov. 8, Austin voters approved the city’s $720 million mobility bond proposition, paving the way for more road construction, planning and congestion relief.

About $482 million of that bond will go toward implementing projects in seven completed corridor studies of Burnet Road; East Riverside Drive; Guadalupe Street; and North and South Lamar, Airport and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards. Funds would also go toward studying an eighth corridor on either Slaughter Lane or William Cannon Drive or both.

In a Nov. 9 memo, Assistant City Manager Robert Goode outlined to city staffers the next steps for creating a corridor implementation plan and coordinating oversight of the bond.

Staffers will come to the council by the end of the year with a midyear budget amendment to hire additional staff and resources as well as fund construction of the first few projects, such as sidewalks and bikeways, according to the memo.

“I would anticipate in the first year we’re going to see a lot of sidewalks and safe passages for kids to school because those will be the most shovel-ready,” Mayor Steve Adler said. “While that work is being done, I see the community being involved in the discussion in how we best spend this [bond] money in the six- to eight-year period of time so it’s a decision we make together as a community.”

In 2012, voters also approved a bond that included $15 million to study Burnet and North Lamar. The city is hosting meetings Dec. 7-8 to provide residents with an update on recommended projects in those corridor plans.

“This [bond] is now the next stage for that,” Adler said. “I would see us pulling all of the resources and pointing all in the same direction in us developing this master plan for executing the bond. We’re expected to take that into account, too.”

Austin City Council Member Ellen Troxclair, who represents District 8 in Southwest Austin, abstained from the final vote to put the bond on the ballot.

“I was very disappointed in the lack of transparency as far as the cost of the bond on the ballot ... And I just still had additional questions about how the money was going to be prioritized,” she said.

Questions remain about how Southwest Austin will be affected by bond projects. Troxclair noted she and the other South Austin representatives collaborated to ensure a South Austin corridor plan—for William Cannon or Slaughter Lane or both—was included.

“The response that I got when I was advocating for projects in Southwest Austin was, ‘There’s nothing shovel-ready in your district,’” Troxclair said. “I just really want to make sure we’re not in this position for the next bond.”


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