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We Support the redesignation of the Guadalupe-North Lamar Corridor as a top priority for building the city's first light rail alignment. We support an extension to East Riverside by crossing Lady Bird Lake on or between South First Street bridge and Seaholm Center. A western alignment through downtown is crucial to align the South Congress and South Lamar corridors with the Guadalupe-North Lamar corridor.
We Oppose the Project Connect ballot measure containing a mass transit investment that threatens the development of urban rail in the dense Guadalupe-North Lamar corridor. We oppose any measure that contains urban rail service to the duplicative and wasteful nearby Highland sub-corridor, which is already served by Capital Metro's Red Line commuter rail with a $17 per passenger taxpayer subsidy.
We Oppose the so-called 2014 Strategic Mobility Plan that combines the ineffective Project Connect urban rail plan with hundreds of millions of dollars in unrelated highway intersection projects. We call on Austin City Council to keep these measures separate, and give the voters of Austin an honest choice on the merits.
It has become commonplace in the transportation planning profession to equate congestion with affluence. Recently, that argument has been tailored for policymakers to imply causation. Project Connect has taken the "Think beyond congestion" mantra to new depths with their Highland Mall rail proposal. Council's bundling of Project Connect rail plan with unrelated highway intersection projects valued in the hundreds of millions dollars is a testament to the weakness of that rail plan. We're not buying it and neither should the voters of Austin.
If built, Project Connect's light rail to Highland Mall will be a symbolic rail alignment. From Hancock Shopping Center inbound, it is identical to the longstanding Mueller rail eastern alignment proposal. A Highland-Hancock-Mueller alignment will send near-empty trains running up and down Red River Street. Both would serve the stadium that holds 7 games a year, the new medical school with a projected resident enrollment of 175, and an aspirational "innovation district" in a Capitol Complex that a new state law put off limits. Both plans would run past blocks of state-owned parking garages to the convention center where the plans turn one of downtown's few parks, the historic Brush Square, into a transit station and to demolish a new symbol of community pride, the Waller Creek Boathouse, to cross Lake Lady Bird.
Empty trains will be visible to the thousands of drivers in stalled traffic on the IH-35 upper deck. This high-subsidy line will be a daily reminder to the region of Project Connect's wasted opportunity, and a lasting legacy of today's leadership. Instead of a successful, expandable high-ridership line that connects people where they live to where they work, it may be the first and last light rail alignment built in of our lifetimes. Highland is a literal dead end for the plan, and for the future of our city. The Project Connect plans no future extensions to the north from the Highland Terminus, unlike the numerous other misleading and arbitrary extensions it features in its plan to build political support.
That's why we established Our Rail, a political action committee promoting a fair and effective first light rail investment. We SUPPORT the redesignation of Guadalupe-North Lamar as a top priority for building the city's first LIGHT RAIL alignment. We will OPPOSE any ballot measure that contains light rail service to the speculative and duplicative Highland sub-corridor. We SUPPORT concurrent construction of any extension such as EAST RIVERSIDE which connects to Guadalupe-North Lamar alignment via a lake crossing that makes sense. We will OPPOSE a Project Connect plans in lieu of rail such as a proposed $500 million MetroRapid busway that threatens the livability and future of light rail on Guadalupe-North Lamar.
Austin can build tracks within a ten minute walk of a third of all the jobs in this city, or it can choose to be symbolic. Many people have already made that choice. UT Student Government, non-profits, planning bodies, and neighborhood organizations serving over 100,000 Austinites have formally endorsed a light rail alignment in the Guadalupe-North Lamar corridor.
Policymakers refused to listen, and the people have taken this back.
Guadalupe-N Lamar is and has always been a matter of political will. As rail advocates, we feel the weight of responsibility for opposing this plan. But, that's half the commitment. The other half comes with our resolve to fix this weak plan. Success, not failure, is our objective. We will be there for this objective between now and November. We will be there after November and until the first train rolls. That route needs to be where the people want it, and where on every weekday morning tens of thousands of riders support it with their fares, not with new taxes.
Read major coverage of this planning campaign and what Our Rail and its affiliated groups have been doing to keep you informed.
6/27/14 KUT Sound Cloud: $1.4 billion urban rail plan clears city council vote. by Nathan Bernier
6/26/14 KXAN News Urban rail bond proposal unanimously approved by Kate Weidaw and Kevin Schwaller
6/26/14 Community Impact Austin City Council unanimously approves urban rail proposal by Amy Denney
6/26/14 KUT News Austin City Council Unanimously Backs Urban Rail Proposal-angers some public transit advocates by Nathan Bernier
6/25/14 Time Warner Cable News Owners Suggest Alternative Urban Rail Route by Jeff Stensland
6/23/14 Austin American Statesman Urban rail campaign to be an odd mix of pros and cons by Ben Wear
6/18/14 Austin American Statesman City, Cap Metro nearing official urban rail endorsement by Ben Wear
6/13/14 Austin Chronicle Project Connect Accelerates: As decisions near, controversy dogs urban rail plan by Mac McCann and Michael King
6/13/14 Austin Chronicle Austin Chronicle Point Austin: Dis Connect: The early omens ain't great for Austin mass transit by Michael King
6/13/14 Austin Chronicle Dissenting Voices by Michael King
6/13/14 Austin Chronicle Three Project Options by Mac McCann
6/10/14 Austin American Statesman Austin urban rail map, fliers cause flap in Hyde Park by Ben Wear
6/10/14 KUT News Why is Project Connect Handing Out This Inaccurate Urban Rail Map? by Terrence Henry
6/9/14 Austin Chronicle Bedfellows Getting Strange: Urban Rail project slammed from opposite wings by Michael King
6/5/14 Austin American Statesman Central Austin neighborhood groups attack proposed rail route by Ben Wear
6/1/14 Austin American Statesman Urban rail gain would mean boathouse pain by Ben Wear
5/28/14 KUT This Urban Rail Supporter Wants People to Reject Austin's Current Proposal by Nathan Bernier
5/6/14 Austin Chronicle Can Project Connect Connect? by Michael King
4/29 KEYE TV News Is Austin Urban Rail Making Progress? Erica Harpold
4/27/14 Austin American Statesman Project Connect's urban rail ad campaign: Outreach or advocacy? by Ben Wear
4/8/14 Austin Chronicle November Calling: PACs Form on Rail Vote: Groups organizing for and against potential bond proposition by Mac McCann and Michael King
2/28/14 Austin American Statesman Why some say poll results mean there’s bad news for Austin’s urban rail campaign by Ben Wear
11/25/13 Austin American Statesman Obscure [Central Corridor Advisory Group] setting Austin's path for rail by Ben Wear
6/25/13 Austin American Statesman Mayor's group to mull urban rail route by Ben Wear
We Oppose the Project Connect Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) approved by City Council on 6/26/14. That proposal is a $1.38 billion urban rail alignment to connect East Riverside to the Highland Mall area. The route runs along Airport Blvd, Red River St., San Jacinto, and crosses Lake Lady Bird to serve 4 stations on East Riverside. Our Rail strongly opposes this LPA designation.
Hancock and Eastwoods Neighborhood Impacts
Northfield, Ridgetop, and Highland Neighborhood Impacts
Our Rail is a specific-purpose political action committee registered with the City of Austin.
Paid political ad by Our Rail PAC, Scott Morris treasurer
In the past 15 months, organizations serving over 100,000 Austinites have formally endorsed a Guadalupe North Lamar Corridor light rail alignment. Help us bring transportation planning back to the people of Austin in November 2014!
Our Rail is a political action committee working to secure a future for light rail in our region with a backbone of mass transit for Austin.
Sign the petition "I Want to Ride LIGHT RAIL on Guadalupe-N Lamar!"
P.O. Box 49166
Austin, Texas 78765