The Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) boards of directors passed a joint resolution in support of the Project Connect vision—provided several items are addressed as the process moves forward.
“We support the Project Connect vision but believe there is still work to be done before it can be finalized. We thank the Project Connect team for the good work they have done so far,” said Austin Chamber Board Chair Brian Cassidy. “We have tried to identify issues that should be considered in the plan as it evolves, and we look forward to playing an active role in planning high-capacity transit that is part of a comprehensive regional multi-modal system that connects Central Texans to job opportunities across the region.“
The Chamber and RECA believe a well-planned high-capacity mass transit system would help not only address mobility and congestion challenges, but also provide better access to more affordable housing for our region’s growing workforce.
“The Real Estate Council of Austin is committed to a more affordable, compelling, connected, and opportunity-rich Austin, and we believe that executing Project Connect’s vision is critical to achieving these goals,” said RECA Board Chair Patrick Rose. “RECA appreciates the leadership of the public and private sector stakeholders who have been involved in this important effort, and we look forward to rolling up our sleeves and working alongside them as the process continues.”
Both the Chamber and RECA have agreed on several items that must be addressed in order to maintain their support of the Project Connect vision:
- The Project Connect system, including mode choice, be designed to utilize efficient, cost-effective and flexible technology that can be adapted to changing needs, development patterns, and growth in the region;
- The Project Connect system be designed so as to not convert all, or significant portions of, through roadway lanes in existing corridors to dedicated transit pathways and so as to minimize impacts on portions of through roadway lanes and other roadway infrastructure where Project Connect improvements do not otherwise reduce congestion and improve service for all modes of travel;
- A detailed financial plan addressing initial capital costs, long-term operations and maintenance expenses, and a sustainable means for funding operations be developed and made publicly available;
- The City and Capital Metro develop a “contract with the voters” identifying permissible uses of Project Connect bond proceeds, criteria and timing for expenditure of bond proceeds, and identifying Capital Metro as the designated local transit agency pursuant to state and federal law as the primary implementing entity of the Project Connect system;
- The City demonstrate clear and measurable progress on the implementation of the corridor improvements provided for in the 2016 Mobility Bond in accordance with the contract with the voters for that bond proposition;
- The City develops a new Land Development Code that provides for additional housing and density along the Transit Priority Network corridors to support new and additional transit capacity, including an emphasis on transit-oriented development (TOD), transit-oriented communities (TOC), and transit-based zoning;
- The Project Connect System be designed in such a manner so as to not only improve mobility within the City of Austin, but also improve connectivity regionally;
- The City and Capital Metro should actively seek input from regional partners such as the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, and municipalities that will be served by the Project Connect System; and
- The Project Connect System be bold and comprehensive, with the goal of transforming mobility in a manner that is long-term and generational in scope.
Both the Chamber and RECA look forward to continuing to work with the Project Connect team to provide expert feedback and help throughout the process.
About the Austin Chamber of Commerce
The mission of the Austin Chamber of Commerce is to help create jobs so people can find work, provide for their families and achieve prosperity. We invest in a broad range of programs that build, support, and diversify our regional economy.
About the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA)
The Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) addresses issues affecting the commercial real estate community in Central Texas. With more than 1,900 members, the non-profit, advocacy organization represents a broad spectrum of the Central Texas economy, ranging from landowners and developers to the various service professions that facilitate the industry.