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Two years after voters approved Project Connect, here's where it stands

Local officials say the program is on track, but there is still a long way to go, especially for new light rail lines.

AUSTIN, Texas — Two years after Austin voters approved Project Connect, a multibillion-dollar overhaul of the city’s transit system, local officials say the program is on track.

“We’ve had some early successes only two years in, but there’s lots of work ahead, no doubt about it,” Greg Canally, interim executive director of the Austin Transit Partnership, told KVUE’s media partners at the Austin American-Statesman. “This was always a multiyear project.”

The project calls for two light rail lines, a Downtown Austin tunnel and several new bus routes. It includes funding for housing, equitable development planning and park-and-ride options. 

Several projects have already broken ground, but officials told the Statesman there is a long way to go, especially for the light rail lines.

A large amount of progress has been made on expanding bus lines and the existing MetroRail red line, the Statesman reports. That includes the McKalla rail station at Q2 Stadium, which will soon be under construction. Pleasant Valley and Expo Center rapid transit lines are currently under construction.

The Blue and Orange light rail lines will be among the biggest changes as part of Project Connect. Those aren’t expected to begin operating until 2030, according to the Statesman. Canally said exact plans are still fluid and will depend on cost.

So far, Project Connect has cost $113 million, while the 8.75-cent property tax cut out for Project Connect in Austin has already yielded $316 million, the report said. Canally told the Statesman the Austin Transit Partnership does not have plans to ask for another tax increase.

To read the full report, visit the Statesman’s website.

Boomtown is KVUE's series covering the explosive growth in Central Texas. For more Boomtown stories, head to KVUE.com/Boomtown.

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