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With Unanimous Vote, Cap Metro Takes Next Step In Plan For Future Of Austin Transit

A Capital Metro bus in a dedicated bus lane in Austin.
Spencer Selvidge for KUT
A Capital Metro bus in a dedicated bus lane in Austin.

In a 6-0 vote, Austin's transit agency advanced its vision for getting a rapidly growing population around town as fast and easy as possible. But there are several more hoops for the Project Connect plan to jump through before you'll actually see it go into effect.

Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen, a Capital Metro board member, said the unanimous vote means the agency is taking the next step in getting people from A to B in dedicated lanes without getting stuck in traffic.

The vote authorized an engineering and environmental study and called for more input from the community before the project goes to City Council in the spring. Then, the plan returns to Cap Metro in the fall, Kitchen said, leading up to a 2020 public vote on how to pay for the project.

"This is a vision that will really help people in the community who have the hardest time getting around without a car," Kitchen told KUT's Sangita Menon.

The starting point is the orange line, which goes from Tech Ridge in the north all the way south to Slaughter Lane, forming the "spine" of the project, Kitchen said. A key route will also connect the airport to downtown along Riverside Drive.

In response to the unanimous board vote and positive comments at Monday's meeting, Kitchen said she was pleased by the result, noting the changes made based on feedback, including seven new transit corridors in the plan.

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Andy Jechow is the social media coordinator for KUT News. After graduating from American University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor's degree in international studies, he returned home to Texas — in need of greasy Tex-Mex — and became a TV news producer. Before joining KUT in November 2018, he worked as a digital content producer at Austin NBC affiliate KXAN News. When he's not at work, Andy enjoys attending book signings and watching classic movies.