Austin transit agency thinks big with $9.6 billion proposal

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Austin’s Capital Metro Transit Authority is rolling out a proposed $9.6 billion subway and light rail system after previous efforts failed at the polls.

The new system would require a 21% increase in the property tax rate that would aveage out to about $300 per year for the average homeowner, according to preliminary figures.

A downtown transit tunnel is one feature of Austin's $9.6 billion transit proposal.

Details of the plan were discussed in a joint meeting of the Cap Metro board and Austin City Council on Monday with a view toward a November election.

State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, former mayor and a longtime proponent of mass transit in the congested city, urged planners and citizens to “think big.”

“The age of the Band-Aid approach to transportation has to be long gone,” he told a rally at City Hall.

The November ballot issue could be a bond proposal with a tax hike included, but details remain to be worked out.

The financial scenario envisions $3.8 billion from the federal government, which would require a dedicated local funding source.

A proposed $600 million light rail line proposal was narrowly defeated in 2014.

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City of Austin, TX