Photo by Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT
Monday, February 8, 2021 by Mose Buchele

Austin approves $23M to help prevent gentrification near new transit hubs

Austin City Council has put $23 million toward projects to stop people from getting priced out of their neighborhoods. It’s the first use of money from a larger anti-displacement fund set up to soften the gentrifying effects of planned rail and transportation projects.

Real estate development, property values, taxes and rent will likely rise around new train stations and transit hubs approved in last year’s $7.1 billion Project Connect transportation bond.

To help people who might be priced out, voters approved a $300 million anti-displacement fund along with the bond.

City Council Member Greg Casar, who sponsored the fund, said the initial $23 million will go to projects like permanent land trusts to help low-income homeowners stay in their houses and help “tenants actually buy out their landlords and (form) a cooperative so that people who might get pushed out by rising rents become the owners of their own apartment communities.”

Capital Metro says construction on the new rail lines could start by 2024.

Casar said he believes it’s important to start safeguarding gentrifying communities, “so that when those train lines open up folks can afford to live there and have easy access to hop on a train.”

The city is planning a community outreach campaign to figure out how to spend the remaining $267 million in the anti-displacement fund.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2012, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.

Capital Metro: The city’s urban transportation system.

Project Connect: This project brought together a series of Central Texas transportation agencies looking to build high-capacity transit options in the region in the wake of CAMPO's 2035 regional transportation plan. The City of Austin's much-discussed 2014 Urban Rail plan was part of Project Connect's efforts.

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