Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said last week that voters will be asked in November 2012 to decide on a bond package that would fund an urban rail system, roads, bike paths, parks, and libraries.

The size and cost of the package, as well as those of the projects to be financed, would be developed over the next 20 months, Leffingwell said.

The rail system, which would connect The University of Texas campus with the state capitol complex and downtown, is expected to cost $200 million to $300 million. No route has been determined.

Leffingwell, a Democrat, ran in 2009 on a platform calling for urban rail in Austin, but declined to include it in a $90 million street and road bond package approved in November 2010.

Without the rail line, the mayor said, there would be 500,000 more cars on Austin streets within 20 years.

“Because it took many years, and many failures, to screw up our traffic this badly, now it’s going to take many years, and many successes, to fix it,” Leffingwell said. “If we fail to deliver easy alternatives to single-occupant car trips, Austin will never be the kind of livable, sustainable city that we aspire to be.”

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