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The city is pushing for a 2012 vote to build urban rail. The critics are asking, 'Who needs it?'
News Story April 8, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...Randal O'Toole is a very convincing fellow. Spend about half an hour listening to him – as a packed dining room of Austin's movers and shakers did last year at the Headliners Club – and you may come away convinced that rail-based mass transit is about as desirable for a city as an earthquake, and possibly more expensive..."
The Road to Rail
Can light rail in Austin work well with Smart Growth?
News Story July 21, 2000, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...Wanna do something about the horrible traffic on the highways? Light rail ain't it. Wanna do something about our ever-dirtier air? Nope, light rail ain't that either..."
A Great Big Bundle of Rail and Roads
Council moves transportation bonds toward a November vote
News Story August 7, 2014, by Mac McCann
"...The bond package, based on the SMP, would (over its term) cost an estimated $1 billion, with $400 million for road improvements and $600 million for urban rail. The $600 million would cover a little less than half of Project Connect's $1.38 billion Central Corridor Urban Rail project (aka the "Locally Preferred Alternative")..."
Mayor Kills Nov. Rail Vote
No 2010 bond referendum for urban rail
DAILY News March 10, 2010, by Katherine Gregor
"...On his mayoral web site, Mayor Lee Leffingwell just announced he's killing Austin voters' opportunity to approve bond funding for urban rail in November. Council was to vote on this next month; however, the mayor's announcement effectively closes that door..."
Leffingwell Proposes Rail/Comp Bond Vote in 2012
Change to city attorney's office, single-member districts also
DAILY News June 16, 2010, by Wells Dunbar
"...The question posed this week by the announcement of transportation bond projects – what does this mean for future bond packages on urban rail and a comprehensive bond election? – got an answer this afternoon: Lee Leffingwell is calling for a combined rail and comp bond vote in 2012...."
November Calling: PACs Form on Rail Vote
Groups organizing for and against potential bond proposition
DAILY News April 8, 2014, by Mac McCann and Michael King
"...AGA (not yet a formal political action committee) has scheduled a launch party for Wednesday, April 16 at Mettle (507 Calles St.). While the group’s early statements promote general improvement of “all transportation options,” its logo and vision statement are rail-centric: “Transportation is inextricably tied to many other concerns in our city: affordability, economic development, efficient use of financial and natural resources - by failing to improve how we get around Austin we are failing to address a myriad of issues..."
Leffingwell Announces ‘Rail – or Fail’
In final ‘State of the City’ address, mayor strongly pushes urban rail
DAILY News February 25, 2014, by Michael King
"...But the heaviest burden of the speech was on transportation, and the mayor warned that if the city does not get more serious about building mass transit, “Our traffic crisis also undermines our efforts to keep Austin affordable." Saying, “We can’t just build off of our strengths, we also have to attack our weaknesses,” Leffingwell spoke at length about mass transit – particularly rail – and said that while we have done well to build and repair roadways over the last decade, in the end “building more roads to solve your traffic problem is like buying a longer belt to solve your weight problem.”..."
Mayor Pro Tem chimes in on rail delay
DAILY News March 10, 2010, by Wells Dunbar
"...Should we be surprised at the news of a rail delay?..."
More 'No Rail' Reactions
Council members respond
DAILY News March 10, 2010, by Katherine Gregor
"...Laura Morrison says "Don't blame me for the push-back," Randi Shade says, "It'll be better in a year," and explains the bond fund scenario. All reactions from city council members to Mayor Lee Leffingwell's "No 2010 Rail Vote" announcement, more below...."
Rail a Great Investment
Postmarks March 30, 2010
"...Mr. Skaggs’ comments [“You've Got Rail!,” News, March 26] concerning our new rail line only consider government financing of the Austin-Leander rail line..."
Mayor: Rail Should Wait
Mayor Lee Leffingwell says urban rail needs more time
DAILY News June 1, 2012, by Michael King
"...In a blog entry just posted on his mayoral web site, the mayor announced that he believes the plans for operations, management, and financing of an Austin urban rail system remain sufficiently in doubt to make a November public vote inadvisable...."
Beside the Point: Failing Our Teachers
Why won't we fund our schools?
News Column September 15, 2016, by Richard Whittaker
"...Can anyone really blame teachers for quitting? The pay sucks, and demanding work conditions have been exacerbated under No Child Left Behind, and amplified in Texas by the school accountability system. Take the storage contractor again: If he was having trouble affixing a rail to an old, knotty beam, would it make any sense to give him stripped-out screws and demand he get the shelves mounted twice as fast?..."
Light Rail Debate
Max Nofziger argues that light rail is too costly and will destroy the Austin we love.
News Story November 3, 2000, by Max Nofziger
"...Rail Will Cost Too Much and Destroy Austin..."
A Light-Rail Named Desire
Capital Metro Plows Ahead With Studies on Cedar Park Line
News Story February 28, 1997, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...Capitol Metro took the public for a ride on the RegioSprinter last wekk to drum up support for light-rail..."
Supports Commuter Rail Plan
Postmarks October 26, 2004
I support the commuter rail plan even though I voted against light rail in 2000. Here's why:
Commuter rail isn't light rail..."
Riding the Rail
The challenge for Capital Metro: convincing voters that the new light rail isn't the old light rail that they rejected last year
News Story December 21, 2001, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...The most vehement and persistent opponents of Capital Metro's plans for a light-rail system -- such as the businesses along South Congress and the neighborhoods near the Eastside railyard -- argue that the A-Train is really a stealth fighter. Under the guise of bringing mobility, they fear, light rail will instead bring redevelopment that will gentrify them out of their homes and stores...."
Commuter Rail: Stuck in the Station Again
The attempt to salvage commuter rail in the San Antonio-Dallas Corridor
News Story December 22, 2000, by Robert Bryce
"...On Nov. 7, Austin voters killed light rail..."
News Story April 4, 1997
"...Projected Cost for First Three Light Rail Lines:..."
Developing Stories: Wynn Calls for 2008 Rail Vote
Will Austin get a streetcar at last?
News Column October 26, 2007, by Katherine Gregor
"...On Monday, Mayor Will Wynn shared with the Chronicle his plans to call for a major November 2008 voter referendum for a new local rail transit system – a call-to-action to be issued Thursday at his keynote State of Downtown Address at the Downtown Austin Alliance annual luncheon. As Wynn and fellow proponent Brewster McCracken envision the modern ultra-light-rail streetcar system, its route would take riders Downtown, to multiple Central Austin locations (such as Mueller and Zilker Park), serve the UT and state office buildings, and connect major work-live-play nodes..."
Developing Stories: The Rail Learning Curve
Spillar outlines city plan to avoid Cap Metro's missteps
News Story December 18, 2009, by Katherine Gregor
"...Can the city's proposed Austin Urban Rail avoid the persistent problems of Capital Metro's Red Line commuter project? That unspoken concern hung over City Council chambers last week, as it had in October when Cap Metro interim President/CEO Doug Allen presented an eye-opening summation of "lessons learned" to the Transit Working Group of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. (See "Where Cap Metro Jumped the Track," Oct..."
LIGHT RAIL U.S.A.:
A Quick Scorecard on Other Cities
News Story April 4, 1997
"...Atlanta has light rail as part of the extensive MARTA system, given its baptism by fire during the 1996 Olympics...."
Tired Of Nichols' Diatribes Against Rail
Postmarks April 12, 2011
I am tired of Lee Nichols' diatribes against rail. His articles on the Red Line have been one-sided and critical, but his latest on the urban rail proposal [“Why Rail?,” News, April 8] is extreme in its bias..."
Ethanol by Rail Fuels Concerns
Cap Metro rail line may replace trucks for fuel delivery
News Story August 20, 2010, by Lee Nichols
"...A handful of eastern Travis County residents last week aired their concerns about ethanol potentially being delivered to Austin along rail lines running near their homes and expressed frustration with what they described as poor communication from Capital Metro about the project...."
You've Got Rail!
Commuter rail springs to life
News Story March 26, 2010, by Lee Nichols
"...A year ago this week, Capital Metro was about as far down in the dumps as it could go. It was under fire for burning through its savings, the launch of the new MetroRail commuter line was a year behind schedule, and finally, its March 28, 2009, kickoff party was scrapped, and the March 30 start of service was postponed indefinitely due to concerns by the Federal Railroad Administration...."
Supports Current Rail Plan
Postmarks August 31, 2004
It appears we are on the verge of another defining moment in our city's history. Although a number of significant civic issues are currently being debated and resolved by our city leaders, the most pivotal issue in terms of how our city will look 20, 30, or even 50 years from now is our decision regarding commuter rail..."
Don't Throw Out Passenger Rail With the Bathwater
Postmarks November 14, 2008
Re: Michael King's "Point Austin: Nobody in Charge" [News, Nov. 14]: While I respect your support of labor in its dispute with Capital Metro, I regret that in your anger with the board, you chose to disparage passenger rail..."
City Hall Hustle: Riding the Riverside Rail
Which comes first, the train or the passengers?
News Column February 26, 2010, by Wells Dunbar
"...Not until the end of the meeting, as part of a 4pm public hearing, may be the item with the furthest-reaching implications: approval of the East Riverside Corridor Master Plan. An addition to the currently being reworked Austin Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan, the city's designs on Riverside signal the storied drive's importance to infill development and urban rail..."
Guided Busway Better Than Light Rail
Postmarks November 4, 2003
"...Hey Austin, forget light rail, it's too expensive and not flexible enough. Try the O-Bahn Guided Busway..."
CCAG Recommends Rail Plan
Task force forwards 'Central Corridor' project to Council, Cap Metro
DAILY News June 13, 2014, by Michael King
"...The release continues: "The Project Team’s recommendation, originally presented in May, features a 9.5-mile urban rail investment that includes 16 stations and 4 park and rides from East Riverside and Grove all the way up to ACC Highland. The plan is estimated to take 10,000 cars off Austin roads daily and provide one more option for residents who travel between the sites in which they live, work and play.'..."
Railing at the Rail Yard:
Capital Metro runs into (surprise!) angry neighbors as it contemplates redeveloping its Eastside rail yard.
News Story December 13, 2002, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...Just another day at the office for Capital Metro -- angry neighbors who don't trust the agency's intentions, feel excluded despite Cap Metro's attempts at inclusion, and think the transit authority is putting the neighborhoods at risk. The setting, as often, is the Eastside; the project, not for the first time, is the redevelopment of the Cap Met-owned rail yard along Fourth and Fifth Streets; and the angry neighbors are primarily members and supporters of the East Cesar Chavez neighborhood-planning team...."
On the Road (and Rail) Again
Watson's take on transportation reform
News Column February 20, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...Transportation reform in Texas is a lot like driving on I-35 at rush hour: a lot of noise, a lot of energy, and a lot of time spent behind the wheel. But as Texans lose the luxury of throwing money at highways, Senate Transportation & Homeland Security Committee Vice Chair Kirk Watson suspects this may be the time for a real discussion about road, rail, and decision-making...."
Support Commuter Rail
Postmarks October 26, 2004
The undersigned bicycle organizations urge everyone who wishes to see a more bicycle-friendly Austin to vote for Cap Metro's urban commuter rail proposal next Tuesday. Here's why: Cap Metro has a proven track record of supporting bike transportation, accommodating bikes on its buses (the first transit agency in the state to do so), and returning millions of dollars to build bicycle facilities as part of regional mobility efforts..."
Against Current Rail Plan
Postmarks August 31, 2004
Mike Clark-Madison is correct to be skeptical of Capital Metro's commuter rail plan for a number of reasons ["Austin@Large," News, Aug. 27]..."
Light Rail Debate
Former City Council Member Max Nofziger vs. Current City Council Member Daryl Slusher
News Story November 3, 2000
"...More Light Rail InfoBallot Language"The operation of a fixed rail system by Capital Metro" -- For or Against More Light Rail InfoCapital Metro: www.capitalmetro.com..."
City ponders how to pay for urban rail
News Story June 17, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...When we last left the urban rail discussion (see "Why Rail?" April 8), Mayor Lee Leffingwell had a list of 30 questions he wanted answered before moving forward with the major transportation project. City Council heard a presentation from the city's Transportation Department Tuesday that really clarified only one thing: that questions still remain..."
Light Rail Has and Is Working
Postmarks November 21, 2008
Light rail has successfully attracted choice riders (defined as those who own a car and could drive to work) all over the country, including Dallas and Houston. Many people who will not ride the bus for good reasons (speed, reliability) and bad reasons (classism) will and do ride trains to work.
We're not building light rail here (yet); our commuter rail line is stupid and will likely be an impediment rather than a help to urban rail if and when it ever gets here, but that doesn't change the fact that Skip Cameron's demonstrably false statements have no place in your paper [Postmarks online, Nov..."
Please Cover Light Rail
Postmarks September 24, 2013
We are headed for a disastrous bond election defeat, and the final nail in the coffin for light rail in Austin, if we allow City Council to ram this ridiculous Mueller route proposal down our throats.
Possibly the only alignment that stands any chance of winning a citywide bond election is North Lamar/Guadalupe..."
Project Connect Nears Rail Route Decision
Recommendation first step toward next year's bond election
News Story November 15, 2013, by Mac McCann
"...This Friday, Nov. 15, Project Connect, the regional planning initiative under the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), will present its first formal recommendation for which Austin sub-corridor to prioritize to receive light rail..."
Rail Is Not the Answer
Postmarks November 20, 2008
Regarding John Langmore's Postmark "Don't Throw Out Passenger Rail With the Bathwater" [Nov. 21]: he is a self-appointed expert on transportation issues and a consultant paid to promote rail.
Rail will not corral urban sprawl, causes more air pollution than single occupant vehicles, will not reduce congestion, wastes huge amounts of taxpayer money for no people mobility gain, diverts money from real solutions, forces increased fares and reduced service to people depending on public transportation (it's happening), all the while chasing choice riders who aren't interested.
It's time politicians and bureaucrats listen to their constituents and put our tax money to work on real people mobility improvements...."
Some Smaller Rail Lines
Postmarks February 26, 2008
Re: "Working on the Railroad" [News, Feb. 22]: A couple of smaller rail lines were not included in the map that may be of interest: The Bergstrom Spur connects to the Union Pacific line south of Ben White and used to end at Bergstrom (Air Force Base)..."
Mueller Not Right Choice for Light Rail
Postmarks September 27, 2013
Major decisions regarding light rail in Austin will be made this year by city government. There seems to be an infatuation with Mueller, and for installing the first phase of light rail between Downtown and that subdivision..."
Rail Line to Leander Is a 'Social Service'
Postmarks November 15, 2009
"..."We're not a social service agency" is Cowman's direct quote. Then why didn't Cowman protest when more than $100 million of our tax dollars were spent to build a rail line from Downtown to – that's right, Leander..."
Notes on Kamp: Our Transportation Crisis
We can't afford to keep ignoring our infrastructure
News Column May 19, 2016, by Amy Kamp
"...So what then? While it's not yet clear what will be on the bond package for this year, it does seem fairly certain that there will be one. The last time we had a chance to vote for increased public transportation (in the form of the light rail), the city presented a plan that managed to alienate many who should have been natural supporters..."
Our Culture's Priorities Are Twisted
Postmarks July 28, 2006
"...Also, about 48,000 Americans are killed each year by our favorite form of transportation, the automobile. This exceeds, by far, rail or other modes of public transportation currently in use here and around the world..."
Our Bodies, Our Cities
Austin and Beyond
News Column January 28, 1999, by Erica C. Barnett
"...As for transportation, the larger questions surrounding regional commuter rail have not yet surfaced in the House or Senate, but plenty of time remains for that much-debated topic to appear. Capital Metro's sales tax, harshly challenged but triumphant during the last legislative cycle, may be challenged again this time around..."
This Land Is Our Land
News From the Fronts of State-City Land War
News Column April 24, 1998, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...And what kind of residential development will grace the New Mueller? So far, ROMA has been talking about what is basically row housing - very small-lot subdivision, like about 25 feet across. This is to produce density, and support the light-rail line that's now routed straight through the New Mueller, while still allowing for ownership - a big concern for neighbors who fear the New Mueller turning into a rental-dominated student ghetto...."
Project Connect Accelerates
As decisions near, controversy dogs urban rail plan
News Story June 12, 2014, by Mac McCann and Michael King
"..."The first phase of urban rail is, to a large degree, just a first phase. There is a lot more to come, and, if we do it right, we'll have that political capital to do more..."
Can Project Connect Connect?
Advisory group receives preferred corridor recommendation
DAILY News May 6, 2014, by Michael King
"...On Friday, May 2, the Project Connect team presented its “Locally Preferred Alternative” recommendation for urban rail to Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s Central Corridor Advisory Group. It runs from Highland on the north to Riverside/Grove on the south, features a new bridge over Lady Bird Lake, and possibly a tunnel at Hancock..."
Bedfellows Getting Strange
Urban rail project slammed from opposite wings
DAILY News June 9, 2014, by Michael King
"...The campaign in support of Project Connect, and its proposed initial rail line now entering the final decision phase, hasn’t really gotten rolling yet. Nevertheless, supporters and detractors of mass transit unhappy with the plan aren't waiting – they're taking aim and blasting away...."
AURA Begs to Differ
Rail advocates insist they don’t advocate ‘Guadalupe/Lamar’ Only
DAILY News May 6, 2014, by Michael King
"...Newsdesk was righteously Tweeted this morning by members of Austinites for Urban Rail Action, after we posted a summation of reactions to the latest urban rail proposal by the Project Connect Study Team. AURA wants it known they are ‘not now and have never been’ advocates of ‘Lamar/Guadalupe’ only for Austin’s initial urban rail route...."