Alternatives for Getting From Here to There

The light-rail Red, Green, Orange and Blue Lines are the same, but the terms are different. Back in 1997, they were proposed for construction in that order; now, any of them could be Austin's first, last, or only light-rail line, if we have rail at all. We now have different versions of each -- two Red Lines, three Green Lines, two Orange Lines -- depending on their routes and endpoints (the significance of the "key points" on this map). Both the Red and Blue Lines are also proposed for commuter rail. Meanwhile, HOV lanes are being proposed for I-35 and for MoPac/U.S.183; we know these would be new, separate lanes, but other details are still up in the air.

• Commuter Rail: Despite the creation in 1997 by the Legislature of an Austin-San Antonio commuter rail district separate from either Capital Metro or VIA in San Antonio, the district still doesn't exist, and might never exist unless Austin, Travis County, San Antonio and Bexar County all opt into the plan.

• Light Rail: Capital Metro is studying ridership and cost estimates before putting the question to voters before November 2000. "Sketch planning" ridership estimates for the rail options show the highest ridership along the Green Line through Central Austin, followed by the Blue Line from Round Rock to downtown. This makes the Red Line -- the route along the Cap Met-owned rail right of way through East Austin, then along U.S.183 to Leander -- a less exciting option by the minute. As for the Orange Line, even though everyone thinks rail to the airport is a no-brainer, the ridership estimates aren't that high, and the per-mile capital cost estimates -- more than $50 million -- are the highest of any rail line.



Total Miles

Number of Stations

Total Cost
(in millions)

1997 Est. Avg.
Wkday Ridership

2025 Est. Avg.
Wkday Ridership

Commuter Rail
Blue Line --
Austin-San Antonio

To be determined by TXDOT study

To be determined by TXDOT study

To be determined by TXDOT study

To be determined by TXDOT study

To be determined by
TXDOT study

Red Line -- Leander-CBD

32

9

$446

6-7K

8.5-11.5K

Light Rail
Red Line -- Leander-CBD

32

18

$612

12-14K

17-23K

Red Line --
Howard La.-CBD

15

14

$408

11-14K

13.5-21K

Green Line -- Howard-CBD

13

15

$490

16-18K

18.5-26K

Green Line --
Howard-Ben White

16

20

$612

21-23K

24-32K

Green Line -- Howard-Slaughter

20

23

$756

24-26K

26-34.5K

Orange Line --
CBD-ABIA via Riverside

8

8

$439

6-8K

7.5-9K

Orange Line --
CBD-ABIA via E. Austin

9

10

$452

6-8K

8-10.5K

Blue Line --
Round Rock-Slaughter

26

18

$788

10-12K

12.5-20K

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