Austin City Council approves mobility plan that includes urban rail

AUSTIN -- Most Austinites agree, traffic is a problem that needs to be addressed. The City Council is working to do just that, with an item on its agenda Thursday that would approve a strategic mobility plan.

Austin's traffic is ranked as the fourth worst in the United States. To put that in perspective, it's a little worse than New York City, but a little better than San Francisco.

Thursday's item is to approve a strategic mobility plan that would focus on building additional roads and make way for phase one of the project connect urban rail line. That line has been subject to a lot of criticism, and the plan on the agenda calls for a route from the East Riverside Corridor through downtown, the Capitol complex and University of Texas and Austin Community College campuses.

Critics gathered before the meeting, urging council to vote it down.

"Is the rail lobby so powerful that it has taken hold of this thing and is directing these critical funds into a silly little trolley that isn't going to fix the problems," said Roger Faulk with the Travis County Taxpayers Union.

But Mayor Lee Leffingwell said the city has to do something.

"We have a serious mobility problem here. It threatens our economic development in the future, and it threatens our quality of life. It's a big problem, and we need to have a big solution to it. We need to attack on all fronts," said Leffingwell.

The plan has not been funded. So if the item is passes, council will vote on Aug. 7 whether to put an item on the ballot to fund the plan in November.

UPDATE: The Austin City Council voted unanimously to approve the mobility plan in a 7-0 vote.


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