Austin's Urban Rail
As Austin invests locally while thinking regionally, it can solve part of the puzzle by adding new road capacity and creating attractive alternatives to driving alone, or – as it is in rush hour – sitting in a car alone and pulling forward every few minutes. Urban Rail is an important part of a much larger, highly networked road and transit system developing throughout the Austin region.
Urban Rail expands the successful MetroRail passenger rail and will connect people to where they live, work and play in the City of Austin, with electric-powered, fixed-rail cars.
It can take the stress out of getting to major employment and entertainment destinations, with service expected every 10 to 15 minutes during rush hour.
Because our population continues to grow at a rapid pace and the transportation network serving our business and cultural core cannot meet existing demand or future growth. Transportation impacts everyone, and if people can't move around our city, we all stand to lose what makes it great. In the same space as six Jeeps, an urban railcar would hold up to 165 people.
There would be an election, possibly in the next two years. Construction would start in 2016 and the system could be running by 2021.
The first phase of Urban Rail, starting and stopping from Mueller to the Convention Center, is 5.5 miles. It links the three primary activity hubs within Central Austin, Downtown, Capitol Complex, and UT, to each other and to two MetroRail transfers, with connections to MetroRapid Bus.
Phase 1 will cost about $275 million locally, or less, with matching federal funds bringing the total to $550 million. It would cost about $16 million a year to operate and maintain.
why urban rail?
The first phase of Urban Rail is just the beginning on a long-term regional transit vision, with access to many neighborhoods and parts of the region.