AUSTIN, Texas — Transportation leaders have approved thousands of dollars for a study on the usability of a rail line in South Austin.
The “Bergstrom Spur” rail line could connect the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) to South Austin neighborhoods – and possibly to Downtown Austin.
The rail line in South Austin has been not been used for more than 20 years. But it may now have a future.
“This is a great piece of property that's essentially been abandoned for quite some time,” said City Councilmember Ann Kitchen, who represents District 5, South Austin.
Kitchen is on the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO).
Monday night, the board voted to work with the city to begin a $280,000 study to determine the best use for the Bergstrom Spur.
“It’s really timely to take the next step,” Kitchen said. “See what could we use it for.”
The Bergstrom Spur is about six miles long, from Vinson Road to ABIA, running adjacent to Ben White.
It may be turned into a trail, a high-capacity transit line or both.
Capital Metro has identified this line for right of way preservation.
But right now, a higher priority for the transit agency is the proposed Blue Line, a different route to the airport.
The Blue Line would run from the airport along Riverside Drive and up either Trinity or Red River eventually to ACC’s Highland campus.
CapMetro's Blue Line is part of the agency's long-term "Project Connect" vision.
It is holding open houses next week to get community feedback.
Those open houses are:
- June 17, 2019: Ruiz Branch Library 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. | 1600 Grove Boulevard
- June 18, 2019:Lee Elementary School 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. | 3308 Hampton Road
- June 20, 2019: Austin Community College Highland Campus 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. | 6101 Highland Campus Drive
There is also a virtual open house to provide Capital Metro with feedback here.
Jackie Nirenberg, community involvement manager, said the agency is looking for “whether [the public] agree with the purpose and what we're doing."
While the Blue Line and Bergstrom Spur are different, Kitchen said the Spur could connect to downtown if high-capacity transit is built on Congress Avenue, which the Spur could connect to.
“It’s a huge opportunity for us,” Kitchen said.
The Bergstrom Spur study could take up to a year.
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