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Urban Rail Comment Period Ends Friday
Proposed line would run from Mueller to ABIA via Downtown
DAILY News  April 26, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...The city of Austin is wrapping up the public input period on the proposed urban rail line, part of the environmental impact process required by federal law. If you want to make a comment, you have until Friday to do so..."

Urban Rail: Which Way to Connect?
Project Connect recommends a rail corridor – and transit advocates board opposing trains
News Story  December 13, 2013, by Mac McCann and Michael King
"...On Friday, Dec. 6, the Central Corridor Advisory Group, appointed by Mayor Lee Leffingwell to advise city officials on the development of urban rail, approved Project Connect's sub-corridor recommendations of East Riverside and Highland by a vote of 14-1..."

Urban Rail Meetings
City holding forums as part of FTA review
DAILY News  March 25, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...After Capital Metro's Red Line, does Austin want more rail? The city government wants your input in a series of upcoming meetings. See press release from the city below...."

"Three Incontrovertible Facts" About Urban Rail Line
Postmarks  July 21, 2014
"...Dear Editor, On June 26th, the City Council passed Austin’s first urban rail line route. Public testimony was limited, but I would have pointed out three incontrovertible facts..."

Urban Rail Public Meetings
City seeks input on proposed rail project
News Story  April 1, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...Does Austin want more rail? That's what the city wants to know from residents in five upcoming public meetings. The first two are "public scoping" meetings, required under the National Environmental Policy Act..."

Why Rail?
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..."

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...."

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...."

Rail Reactions
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...."

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")..."

Should Be Vote on Rail
Postmarks  March 5, 2013
"...Dear Editor: Regarding "Spring Train-ing: Warm-up for another urban rail campaign" (News, Feb. 22): The baseball metaphor found in this article needs to be carried even further, in that voters haven't had the chance to "step up to the plate" (i.e., participate in a required public urban rail vote) since 2000..."

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..."

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..."

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.'..."

Austin Rail Planning 'Off-Track' Again?
Postmarks  May 30, 2012
"...Dear Editor, Almost 40 years after the first “urban” passenger rail was proposed for Austin (presented to Austin City Council in 1973!), why is planning for urban passenger rail serving Austin so delayed (and, to be honest, screwed up)? (And Austin is certainly far behind other Texas cities – Houston and Dallas – considered much less progressive.) Two years have passed since there should have been a 2010 referendum ready for voters; and now there is a “rushed” attempt by a group given just six short months – called the Transit Working Group – that is tasked with both helping develop a long-range regional transit plan and “rubber-stamping” (because that is all they have time for), this June, an ill-conceived route for urban rail prepared by local transportation planners. I, and other concerned citizen transit advocates, have been attending every single meeting of the TWG; and the completely layman body of this group has struggled to digest the enormous amount of information being fed them (in weekly ubiquitous PowerPoint presentations) by professional transportation planners, with very little actual opportunity to “evaluate and provide input” (wording from the group’s mission statement) in a meaningful way on either a regional transit plan or what might be put before voters in November..."

Open Up the Rail Dialogue
Postmarks  February 26, 2013
"...Dear Editor, I am a transit advocate and support rail in Austin. The city has not allowed for open discussion and input by the public on the current rail proposal..."

Forcing the Rail System
Postmarks  August 12, 2014
"...Dear Editor, I lived in Houston while their rail system was under construction [“A Great Big Bundle of Rail and Roads,” News, Aug. 8]..."

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.”..."

Urban Planning: A Roundup
How Austin is working toward getting better by design
News Column  December 26, 2008, by Katherine Gregor
"...The ROMA Austin team delivered its "Phase One: Issues and Oppor­tu­ni­ties" report to council in February. Then council asked the consultants to focus on producing a July "Downtown Urban Rail Connec­tions" report, which provided recommendations for a streetcar/light-rail route and approach...."

Rail Revival?
Proposed Austin-San Antonio rail line could take commuters all the way from Georgetown to downtown San Antonio on a Union Pacific freight corridor with 15 stops
News Story  December 30, 2005, by Kimberly Reeves
"...Much has been made of Capital Metro's potential plans to add spurs to its modest Leander-to-downtown commuter rail line, but an even bigger rail project looms on the horizon for Central Texas as the Austin-San Antonio Intermunicipal Commuter Rail District considers its options for funding a far more ambitious rail corridor...."

Chasing Rail
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..."

Tired Of Nichols' Diatribes Against Rail
Postmarks  April 12, 2011
"...Dear Editor, 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..."

Light Rail Has and Is Working
Postmarks  November 21, 2008
"...Dear Editor, 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..."

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..."

Finding Rail Route Complicated
Postmarks  May 15, 2013
"...Dear Editor, Michael King, in “The Reading Railroad” [News, May 10], while making valuable points, seems to state that finding an initial route for urban rail is a problem easily solved after finding/deciding financing. This line of thinking is truly putting the cart before the horse, and the antithesis of good, intelligent, effective rail planning..."

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...."

Project Connect: Three Rail Plans Mulled for CCAG
Advisory Group looks at three options, plus costs
News Story  May 22, 2014, by Mac McCann
"...1) At an estimated $1.38 billion, with an estimated daily ridership of 16,000-20,000, the complete urban rail plan would run about 9.5 miles, from Riverside/Grove to Highland, including possibly a tunnel at Hancock Center. The annual operating costs would be around $22 million...."

Cap Metro Testing Out Rail Cars
Service begins 2008
DAILY News  December 18, 2007, by Lee Nichols
"...PRESS RELEASE from Cap Metro: Capital MetroRail is on the Move On Track Testing Begins Tonight Austin, Texas, December 17, 2007 – Today marks a major milestone in Capital Metro’s Urban Commuter Rail project. The first MetroRail vehicle will be tested on a portion of the Authority’s tracks beginning tonight. Preliminary testing will take place sporadically from approximately 8:00 p.m..."

Whither Rail Route?
Transportation officials move toward a finalized route
News Story  February 28, 2014, by Amy Smith
"...City transportation officials last week moved toward finalizing a recommended route for either urban rail or a rapid bus line. The 9-mile stretch would run from Highland Mall on one of two potential paths – Airport Boulevard or along I-35 – to Hancock Center, continuing down Red River to the UT Campus and Downtown, crossing Lady Bird Lake, and turning southeast to East Riverside..."

Urban Planning Buzz
DAILY News  March 12, 2008, by Katherine Gregor
"...FYI: The draft Station Area Plan for two of Austin’s future transit-oriented districts – MLK and Plaza Saltillo – is ready for a broad public vetting. The plans address redevelopment of areas surrounding two future Eastside stops on Capital Metro’s commuter rail Red Line..."

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..."

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...."

LIGHT RAIL 101: The Facts, Figures, & Terms You Need to Know
News Story  April 4, 1997
"...Light Rail: According to the experts at the American Public Transport Association (APTA), the "light" in light rail, as compared to heavy rail, refers primarily to passenger volume. This is a function of design; a heavy rail system like New York's subways runs at higher speeds -- thus more frequently -- and has larger cars and longer trains, and therefore can carry more people..."

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..."

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...."

Rail-ly Expensive
News Story  April 4, 1997
"...Projected Cost for First Three Light Rail Lines:..."

Anti-Rail for Austin
Postmarks  June 9, 2004
"...Dear Editor, Contrary to Representative Mike Krusee's notion, the recent Center for the American Dream assessed data for rail regions in 13 categories, including transit ridership trends, congestion trends, rail cost effectiveness, safety, and energy costs ["Here Come the Transporters," News, June 4]. The survey used data from 23 regions, which are among the 50 largest urban areas..."

Light Rail on the Web
News Story  April 4, 1997
"...Mass transit is building up a fairly prominent presence on the web, and herewith a collection of sites you can check out and learn how Austin's efforts toward light rail stack up against other cities: Capital Metro Honestly, Cap Met's own WWW site isn't very good, and there's almost nothing on it right now about light rail. Good to bookmark, though, in case someone over on Fifth Street does decide to use the site for the purposes it was intended ......"

New Rail Plan Rolled Out
The latest line on streetcars
News Story  April 25, 2008, by Katherine Gregor
"...On Tuesday night, the city sponsored a public workshop seeking citizen input on the details of designing a new streetcar system – also called ultralight rail transit – to serve Downtown and Central Austin. Alternately, the city could choose a more expensive light-rail system that would allow for greater future capacity...."

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...."

Support Commuter Rail
Postmarks  October 26, 2004
"...Dear Editor, 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
"...Dear Editor, 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]..."

Planning a Compact City in the Midst of Urban Sprawl
News Story  December 22, 1995
"...Last December, the Austin Transportation Study (ATS), a 17-member committee of regional elected officials charged with transportation planning for the metropolitan area, adopted a 25-year plan that was long on discussion of the need for a compact city, and for better facilities for cyclists and pedestrians. It scaled back previous plans to widen practically every inner city arterial, and it called for 52 miles of light rail to provide a transit spine that would shape compact growth..."

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..."

Hot Corners: Land Use, Light Rail, and Smart Growth
News Story  July 21, 2000, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...Just as surely as a freeway does, a rail system would open up vast amounts of land to development. The difference is that, in the case of urban transit, that development is actually re-development, as in infill, as in Smart Growth, as in the worst nightmare of many Austin neighborhoods..."

Best Alternative: Regional Rail
Postmarks  April 18, 2007
"...Dear Editor, Re: “Fixing 290: A Different Alternative" [News, April 13]: There is another alternative to help "fix" U.S. 290/Highway 71 West (290/71) through Oak Hill, and that is regional (aka commuter) rail. When I was chair of the Urban Transportation Commission, I supported (and now continue to support) the Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods' valiant and justified efforts to influence the character of TxDOT's plans to expand capacity of 290/71 West..."

Approach Commuter Rail Cautiously
Postmarks  August 5, 2004
"...Dear Editor, Many wishful thinkers are hoping that Capital Metro's commuter-rail plan can generate its own ridership with transit-oriented development, since it's got some major obstacles to overcome in delivering existing ridership (requiring riders to transfer to shuttle buses to get to UT, the Capitol, and downtown, being the most obvious among them). However, please be advised when evaluating this plan that, unlike light rail, commuter rail (at least in this country) has never generated any momentum for transit-oriented development, despite major efforts to the contrary. For instance, South Florida's Tri-Rail line has tried (and failed) for a decade now to generate TOD near their stations..."

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..."

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