On Monday, September 15, 2014, AARO members approved the following public statement in support of the City of Austin’s Proposition 1 Bond Proposal:
The Austin Area Research Organization (AARO) urges Austin voters to support the City of Austin’s Proposition 1 Bond Proposal in this November’s Election.
AARO is a member-driven, non-partisan Central Texas business and civic leader organization with its members drawn from the highest levels of business, community, and civic leadership. Our regional leaders work together around strategic long-term issues to seek out information and facts, and recommend decisions that will shape the destiny of the Central Texas region and advance the long-term economic and social well-being of Central Texas.
Today, our community stands on the threshold of a making a major investment that will require both our courage and our best strategic thinking. The proposed transportation bond initiative, Proposition 1, is the essential next step in a regional multimodal system of roads and rail that our families and future generations will depend on. Simply stated, it is an investment we must make.
Citizens of every generation must take decisive action to ensure that future generations have the infrastructure needed to support or improve the quality of life that we have enjoyed. The Proposition 1 Bond Issue that the City of Austin has proposed in this November election is a critical decision-point for the long-term, sustainable economic future of Central Texas.
- Austin is the 4th worst congested City in the country.
- Austin is the 11th largest City in the country in one of the fastest growing regions.
- Efficient mobility is essential to the movement of goods and people, and delivery of public safety.
- Congestion costs commuters lost time, wasted fuel, and increased maintenance and adversely impacts the quality of life, air quality, and the environment.
- Roads are an important part of our mobility system, but they cannot improve congestion in all parts of our City. There is no more room to add lanes to the highly congested central core of our City, and rail is the best long term high capacity transit solution for our burgeoning central core.
- Demand-management strategies must be part of the solution, but all studies show that we need these strategies as well as more roads, high capacity transit, and revised land-use policies encouraging greater density in order to improve the affordability and mobility of our City and Region over the next 30 years.
As a result of a year-long study and recommendation by numerous business and civic leaders (the Transit Working Group and the Central Corridor Advisory Group), the Austin City Council unanimously voted to bring a plan and Bond Proposition, Proposition 1, to voters. Proposition 1 would support a plan to build a 9.5 mile urban rail line from Riverside Drive near the Airport, across Lady Bird Lake, through downtown Austin, up to the State of Texas Capitol complex, through the University of Texas, past the St. David’s Medical Complex and Hancock Shopping Center, and terminating at the ACC flagship Highland campus.
The rail portion of the bond proposal is dependent on the additional investment of $400 M in regionally-significant roadway projects, which are specified and must be committed before rail can be built. Additionally, matching Federal or State dollars for rail must be secured before construction of the urban rail system may commence.
AARO recognizes the critical need to immediately address our mobility issues. Our City is recognized as a World Class City, but our transportation systems are lagging far behind.
AARO urges the community to approve Proposition 1 committing $600 M, and requiring matching Federal or State Dollars for urban rail before construction can begin; and $400 M to specified regionally significant roads projects because both are essential to begin addressing our City’s congestion and transportation needs.
We urge the citizens of Austin to take the long view of our City’s economic welfare, and invest in the next phase of a transportation system, which will serve our community for decades to come.