A billion dollar rail and road project that will change the face of Austin has been given the green light by city council.
Item 64 got off to a rough start at Thursday's city council meeting. A motion was made to limit public comment to 30 minutes per side. Council members Tovo and Riley didn't agree. Many who were planning to speak out against the project, ended up mostly speaking out against the process.
"The community has patiently waited for two years to be able to address this community. And you have just silenced vast numbers of people in central Austin," said one speaker.
Kyle Keahey, the rail project lead, says the city's so-called "comprehensive transportation solution" consists of urban rail and road projects. The project passed city council unanimously Thursday afternoon.
The 9 and a half mile rail line will start at Grove, heading west and ending at Highland Mall.
"It has a total cost of about $1.38 billion. We're going to be asking the Federal Transit Administration to fund about half of that," Keahey said.
We've learned $600 million of that will be for the rail and $400 million goes to the road projects.
Most opponents of the new project really want rail...they're just not sure this is the right plan.
"We need something that can we can expand, that we can afford to expand it. We don't need another red line that we can't afford to expand it until TxDOT shows up and gives us money," one speaker said.
In August, the city council will talk about this again and decide exactly what to put on the November ballot. The plan is to get the federal government to pay half the cost and taxpayers would be responsible for the rest.