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Project Connect report highlights progress made in first year, future plans

The report highlights CapMetro's purchase of electric buses, improvements to the Red Line and more.

AUSTIN, Texas — The first annual Project Connect Management Report was released this week by Capital Metro, Austin Transit Partnership and the City of Austin, around the one-year anniversary that local voters approved the project in November 2020.

The report highlights several milestones completed as part of the project, such as launching new pickup zones, approving the purchase of electric buses and improvement projects to increase service to riders. 

Specifically, CapMetro's board approved the purchase of nearly 200 electric buses – the largest order of electric transit buses in the U.S – in late September. The first buses will arrive in December 2022 and are set to save 230,000 pounds of greenhouse gases per year once they replace diesel buses, according to the report.

Improvements to the Red Line, which runs from Leander to Downtown Austin, were also highlighted in the report as the expansion began in September 2021. Additional track construction between Lakeline Station and Leander was undertaken to establish a zone for passing trains. 

The improvement will increase reliability and serve more riders. Eventually, Red Line improvements will lead to the construction of a new station at Q2 Stadium that will open in 2023, per the report.

Pickup, CapMetro's new rideshare option, launched three new zones this year in an effort to expand neighborhood circulators and bring public transportation to underserved communities. According to the report, Pickup gives customers the ability to be picked up within 15 minutes and go anywhere within the available service area.

The report also looks at Project Connect's future plans, which includes a operating and capital budget of more than $312 million in funding to execute those projects. The massive budget increase, up from nearly $97 million in FY 2021, comes from a combination of property tax revenue, CapMetro's annual contribution and reserves from FY 21.

Austin voters approved Project Connect in the November 2020 election, which greenlit a $7.1 billion transit plan that includes adding two light rails, a commuter rail line, rapid bus service and more.

Check out the full report below.

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