Austin, Texas, where drivers spend an average of 104 hours stuck in traffic each year, is a city built around the car. But after passing two new propositions, the city now plans to invest more than $7 billion in a new transit system, and another $460 million in new infrastructure centered on walking and biking. “There were three main arguments that were made,” says Austin mayor Steve Adler. “One was congestion. One was climate change. One was mobility equity in our city.” The city’s new transit plan, called Project Connect, will build a new rail system with 31 stations, four new rapid bus routes, new on-demand shuttles to take people to transit stations, and new park-and-ride stations. The plan, funded by an increase in property taxes, also includes $300 million to help make sure that as transportation improves in some neighborhoods and housing values rise, residents aren’t displaced from their homes due to gentrification. They’ll do this by offering rent subsidies, building more affordable housing, and giving financial assistance to home buyers. A second measure will invest millions in new bike lanes, sidewalks, urban trails, intersections that are redesigned for safety, and other infrastructure, including a new pedestrian bridge. […]


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