"...At its meeting today (Thursday, Aug. 7), City Council is expected to discuss, and likely vote to approve, a transportation bond package, with specific bond language for the Nov..."
"...Meanwhile, Greg Hartman, a chief administrator at Seton Healthcare, recently formed the “Let’s Go Austin” PAC to support the “transportation bond for City of Austin.” Hartman is a longtime go-to organizer on bond issues, having experience with AISD bonds, the medical school vote, and many other community efforts. Let’s Go Austin is in the early formation stage, but Hartman told Newsdesk, “We’re going to be looking at raising money and then hopefully be able to educate city officials, community leaders, and then voters if this moves forward and becomes a sort of thing that we hope the community can support as a new transportation solution.”..."
"...Yet even while official momentum builds for a November bond vote, various advocacy groups are also organizing to oppose the project, at least as currently designed. Transit advocacy groups – Austinites for Urban Rail Action and Our Rail PAC, among others – have been unhappy with the "Highland" Central Corridor plan from the beginning, and Our Rail has just announced a "coalition" with neighborhood groups along the corridor to oppose the Project Connect plan, in favor of an alignment along Guadalupe and North Lamar..."
"...The post in question – “Can Project Connect Connect?” (read it here) – summarized the Project Connect “Locally Preferred Option” recommendations to last Friday’s Central Corridor Advisory Group meeting, followed by reactions from the Alliance for Public Transportation (middling supportive) and the Our Rail PAC (adamantly opposed). At issue was a parenthetical reference to AURA as akin to Our Rail in the position that “the only acceptable northern corridor is Lamar/Guadalupe.”..."
"...Mike Dahmus of AURA commented, "We've gotten to the point now where it's arguing about three equally ridiculous options, none of which are feasible or efficient or reasonable." Dahmus believes a better choice would be to retrofit either the Congress Avenue bridge or the South First Street bridge. Capital Metro/Project Connect spokesman John Julitz said using an existing bridge is currently not a preferred option because "the existing structures are already at capacity, and reducing lanes of traffic to accommodate any form of high-capacity transit would have a significantly detrimental impact on traffic flow in and out of Downtown."..."
"...A few days later (June 5), the Central Austin Community Development Corporation, a community organizing nonprofit, issued a press release announcing a “powerful grassroots coalition” to oppose the Project Connect plan, arguing instead for the Guadalupe-North Lamar corridor. Issued by CDC Director Scott Morris, the release was co-signed by representatives of the Crestview, Highland, Hyde Park, and Northfield neighborhood associations, and UT-Austin student government, collectively self-described as “serving over 100,000 Austinites.” The release argues against Project Connect’s current plan: “Our groups strongly support light rail, but Project Connect's East Riverside to Highland Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) would result in a broken system, an ineffective transportation investment for our city and region, and a politically non-viable ballot measure.” (Morris is also treasurer of “Our Rail,” a PAC organized to support only a Guadalupe-Lamar alignment and to oppose any Project Connect plan for the Highland corridor.)..."
"...Independent groups publicly supporting the city of Austin urban rail proposal include: Alliance for Public Transportation Real Estate Council of Austin Downtown Austin Alliance Austin Sierra Club Austin Gets Around Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association Congress for a New Urbanism (Central Texas) ATX Safer Streets Brazos Tech District Let's Go Austin PAC University of Texas-Austin..."
"...When that didn't work, she allowed the Austin Police union, I believe on her behalf, to try to overturn term limits. When that didn't work, contributions showed up in the Bruce Todd PAC from city lobbyists to help fund her petitions..."
"...If you'd like to hobnob with a real, live presidential candidate on election night without getting pre-clearance from the Secret Service, head over to Legends Sports Bar & Grill at the Holiday Inn at 8901 Business Park Dr. (southwest corner of the Highway 183/MoPac interchange) for what will presumably be a nonvictory party for Libertarian Party nominee (and Austinite) Michael Badnarik..."
"...The Rev. Charles Pace has a lovely wife and a daughter and two sons..."
"...Bond planning and especially bond public outreach take time – the conventional timeline is about 18 months to election – but this bond began to take serious shape only this past May, when Adler presented to Council the broad outlines of the proposal. Although the overall shape – three "buckets" of projects to cost roughly $720 million – has remained the same, the package went through several iterations before Council finally approved placing the proposition on the ballot...."
"...Of course, most who have been swinging at the Cap Met piñata since January, hoping to find a tasty treat inside -- like, say, a city council seat -- don't actually ride the bus and probably never will. Witness the August 1 Statesman package, with a dozen-plus feature writers taking the bus to work just to see what it's like..."
"...One argument made by bond opponents is that the package's payoff is dwarfed by its costs –the same weak tea peddled in GOP commercials against stimulus-supporting Democrats cluttering the airwaves while the Hustle's trying to enjoy daytime viewing of Maury and mirroring that once-successful anti-rail attack ad: "Costs too much. Does too little." (I prefer Povich's line: "You are not the father!")..."
"...Both of those outcomes featured prominently in the talking points of giddy Cap Metro and rail-campaign leaders Tuesday night. "People are ready for transportation choices," said former Mayor Kirk Watson, leader of the pro-rail "New Ways to Connect" effort led by the Right Track PAC..."
"...At the last ATS-PAC meeting I heard that the new Texas commuter rail district was "not in competition" with Capitol Metro. To the best of my knowledge that statement is only currently correct..."
"...Do Not Pass Gallo: The Crestview-affiliated Arbor PAC is no fan of District 10 Council Member Sheri Gallo. On Oct..."
"...This package provides for repair of substandard roads and bridges throughout the county. While county road bond proposals typically set off our "city-subsidized sprawl" alert, this particular proposed money allocation appears soley to improve specific trouble-spots rather than develop new feeder routes to the burbs..."
"...Alternative transportation venues are needed now -- 10 years from now, existing highways and a double-decked MoPac monstrosity will be woefully inadequate for our needs, assuming Austin continues to attract as many people in the future as she does presently. The status quo is suffocating us -- affecting our air quality, our "quality of life," and, drive any highway in this city, our peace of mind...."
"...For a small fee of $250 a year per parking space in a public street, business owners contract with valet parking services who report very little sales tax and abuse the ordinance, knowing they will only face a fine of $20...."
"...While the Alliance and the PAC share the same goal (can you guess?), and many Austinites support both organizations, we do very different things and are completely separate organizations...."