$50 million in expanded public transportation coming to Austin, TX

CapMetro bus traveling through Austin | Photo by @transit_scenes

If you’re tired of driving through congestion on I-35, we’ve got good news for you: $50 million in expanded public transportation is coming to Austin. 💰

This week, Capital Metro’s board approved the funding for making some major additions to Austin’s bus scene in the next five years.

The money would pay for three new high-frequency bus routes, called MetroRapid. Currently, CapMetro’s two MetroRapid routes are 801 + 803, and run north-south. 

The new routes are:

🚍 Expo: Starting at the Travis County Exposition Center in East Austin and ending at Republic Square downtown, this route includes stops on Airport Boulevard and near the UT campus. 

🚍 Pleasant Valley: Beginning near Mueller in East Austin on the north end, this route travels south with stops on East Cesar Chavez Street and East Riverside Drive, and ends at Goodnight Ranch in South Austin.

🚍 Gold Line: This route stretches from Austin Community College’s Highland Campus to Republic Square. CapMetro says this line could be converted into a light rail in the future, and extend down toward South Congress.

Other changes in the funding package include:

🚧 100+ new bus stations

🚧 New Park & Rides, centers where visitors can park their car and hop on a bus for easy downtown travel 

🚧 Extending Route 803 in two directions, from Westgate Transit Center to Oak Hill and to Slaughter Lane

🚧 New electric bus charging stations

🚧 Improvements to existing bus stops

Funding comes from CapMetro’s Capital Improvement Plan. These changes are all part of Project Connect, a long-term plan from the Austin Transit Partnership

What’s next: Construction is set to begin in December. CapMetro, The Austin Transit Partnership and the Austin City Council are in the process of deciding how to balance decision power in making plans for Project Connect. The groups are set to vote on a joint partnership agreement finalizing these decisions later this week.