Two large business groups are taking opposite sides on Austin’s proposal for $90 million of general obligation bonds for road and street work. The election is set for Nov. 2.
The Austin Real Estate Council is opposed to the plan, but the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce supports it.
The bond package consists of $51.3 million for streets and roads and $38.7 million for other transportation projects.
The Real Estate Council said the allocation of 43% of the total proceeds to non-road projects is too much. The group said voters should be presented with two ballot questions, one for roads and another for sidewalks, trails, and bike paths, instead of the comprehensive package.
In contrast, the chair of the chamber’s transportation committee said the $90 million of projects is just the beginning of what should be a much more extensive effort.
“It’s a significant first step,” homebuilder Terry Mitchell said at a news conference last week. “But this bond issue should not be seen as an end-all.”
Supporters of the transportation proposal have formed a political action committee called “Get Austin Moving” to campaign for the bonds.
Committee treasurer Ted Siff said the group has about $20,000 in pledges and hopes to raise $100,000 for the effort. Members of the steering committee include Mitchell, former Mayor Gus Garcia, and Joe Cantalupo, the former executive director of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Austin has about $790 million of outstanding triple-A GO debt. Voters approved a $567.4 million GO bond package in November 2006 that included $103.1 million of transportation projects.