The Cost Snake Attacks Austin: Episode 28

(or listen on YouTube)

Austin is making a second attempt at a grand rail transit system—their original plan narrowly lost the vote in 2000 despite robust federal funding, an arguably worse plan failed to pass in 2014, and finally, the current plan passed in 2020 by a relatively wide margin. This plan has a price tag of $10.3 billion and rising, much of that due to a long and extravagant downtown tunnel, with questionably necessary property acquisition contributing. We give an overview of transit history in Austin, discuss Project Connect itself, and poke at the beyond-outrageous prices being paid for each mile of this light rail system. The Great North American Cost Snake strikes a valiant transit effort once again!


References & notes

  1. [1] Mass Transit: MBTA opens Medford Branch of Green Line Extension
  2. [2] Austin's Streetcar Era
  3. [3] Wikipedia: Capital MetroRail
  4. [4] Wikipedia: Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority § History
  5. [5] Wikipedia: Austin, Texas
  6. [6] Trolley Folly: A Critical Analysis of the Austin Light Rail Proposal
  7. [7] Wikipedia: Project Connect § MetroRail Gold Line
  8. [8] Reporting Texas: Project Connect and Austin's Past Light Rail Fails
  9. [9] Austin Rail Now: Austin’s 2000 light rail plan — Key documents detail costs, ridership of Lamar-Guadalupe-SoCo route
  10. [10] Light Rail Now: Campaign Continues for Austin Light Rail
  11. [11] The Austin Chronicle: Light Rail Never?
  12. [12] FTA: Capital Metro 2019 Annual Agency Profile
  13. [13] Smart Cities Dive: Behind the controversial $7.1B plan to transform transit in Austin, TX
  14. [14] KXAN Austin: Austin weighing street-level light rail in new Project Connect considerations
  15. [15] KXAN Austin: Project Connect light rails will likely cost $10.3B, twice as much as first planned
  16. [16] KXAN Austin: $10B Project Connect scope might change to combat inflation costs
  17. [17] Reuters: Car-centric Austin is building transit. Will anyone ride it?
  18. [18] Project Connect: Downtown Austin Transit Subway
  19. [19] Project Connect System Plan Overview
  20. [20] 2014 Austin Strategic Mobility Plan
  21. [21] Austin Rail Now