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Stories by Caleb Pritchard

Friday, March 24, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

New MetroRail trains roll into Austin

With the arrival of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of new equipment, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority is approximately half a year away from beefing up its tenth most popular route. On Thursday, workers at the agency’s North Operations…

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Thursday, March 23, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Texas House bill takes aim at historic preservation rules

Fans of keeping historic buildings just as they are have sounded the alarm over a legislative bill that could bring wholesale change to preservation policies across the state, including here in Austin. State Rep. Gary Elkins, a Republican from northwestern…

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Compensatory contract for retired employee finds little purchase with Eckhardt

The Travis County Commissioners Court found itself deeply divided on Tuesday over a proposal to award the county’s recently retired purchasing agent with $30,000 she hasn’t earned. On Feb. 28, Cyd Grimes quietly stepped down from the post she had…

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Workman’s bill could help Lake Travis town ditch Capital Metro

Leaders of one of the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s original members are hoping a state lawmaker can help them in their quest to quit the transit agency. Earlier this month, state Rep. Paul Workman filed House Bill 2627, which is…

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Monday, March 20, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Capital Metro demos robot bus

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority showed off a robot minibus last week that could be the future of linking low-density areas to the agency’s mass transit network. Along with RATP Dev, the parent company of Capital Metro contractor McDonald Transit…

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Thursday, March 16, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Mayor, Troxclair check in at the Capitol to talk short-term rentals

Mayor Steve Adler and City Council Member Ellen Troxclair took their disagreement over the city’s short-term rental regulations to the Texas Capitol on Tuesday evening. Both testified before the Senate Committee on Business & Commerce on Senate Bill 451, a…

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Legislature drives closer to statewide ride-hailing regulations

Three bills that would trump Austin’s ride-hailing regulations swerved through the Texas Senate on Tuesday. In front of a standing-room-only crowd, the Committee on Business & Commerce took up Senate bills 113, 176 and 361. Each authored by Republican lawmakers,…

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Monday, March 13, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Austin officials rap about Smart Cities, robot cars at SXSW

Nine months after Austin lost the federal Smart City Challenge to Columbus, Ohio, the vision of a data-enhanced urban future is still alive and well. Top officials from Mayor Steve Adler to Austin Transportation Director Robert Spillar took time during…

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Monday, March 13, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Reporter’s Notebook: Same as it ever was

The cycle continues… South by Southwest has brought another rogue set of transportation providers to Austin. Just as Uber bullied its way into town during a trial run during the 2013 iteration of the festival, several bikesharing companies have deployed…

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Capital Metro touts partnership that keeps vulnerable residents moving

A nonprofit effort to expand transportation equity in Austin is celebrating a milestone while also dropping six figures to expand its scope. Last week, the Transit Empowerment Fund announced it has provided its 3,000,000th bus ride via its partnership with…

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Dukes dunks county’s North Campus plans

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ surprise support for a competing project hobbled Travis County’s quest for tax credits for an innovative mixed-use development on Airport Boulevard. “We’re not thrilled,” Economic & Strategic Planning Director Mark Gilbert told the Austin Monitor on…

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Monday, March 6, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Mobility plan will prioritize transit

The collaborative effort to craft a transit priority policy is being rolled into the larger Austin Strategic Mobility Plan. Last Wednesday, Austin Transportation Department staff briefed the City Council Mobility Committee on their nearly year-old charge to put together a…

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Friday, March 3, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Plaza Saltillo survives near derailment

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Plaza Saltillo development survived a harrowing journey at City Council on Thursday night, but just barely. Council eventually voted early Friday morning to approve the zoning request sought by the developer, Endeavor Real Estate Group,…

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Friday, March 3, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Council looks forward to robot car future

City Council has kicked its embrace of self-driving cars into maximum overdrive. On Thursday morning, Council approved a resolution directing the city manager to develop a plan to prepare the city for a future of shared vehicles piloted by software…

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Thursday, March 2, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

State of the County speech features state drama, innovative bonding and a surprise setback

In the early months of her third year in office, County Judge Sarah Eckhardt is still bullish on the state of Travis County. On Wednesday evening, she told a large crowd gathered inside the Commissioners Court chambers that the county…

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Worries about mobility bond timeline surface at City Hall

City Council on Tuesday balked at hearing a lengthy update from staff on the ongoing efforts to ramp up the massive but compressed mobility bond program voters approved last November. By the time Council made it to Assistant City Manager…

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Capital Metro approves Connections 2025

It’s all systems go for Connections 2025. On Monday afternoon, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board of directors unanimously approved the framework that will guide the agency’s bus operations for the next decade. “This could be a watershed for Capital…

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Friday, February 24, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Now approaching: A final vote on Connections 2025

After months of delay, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority board of directors is prepared to take a final vote on the agency’s proposed five-year service plan. The board held one final work session last week to discuss Connections 2025, the…

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

County’s North Campus plans to squeeze out Tax Office workers

Travis County is moving forward with plans to raise a multistory mixed-use project in North Central Austin. On Tuesday, the Commissioners Court unanimously endorsed a staff recommendation to cap at three stories the planned office component that would be added…

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Voters to decide on new emergency services district in Southeast Travis County

Residents in Southeast Travis County will soon get to vote on a plan to shore up the financial health of their first responders. Last Tuesday, the Commissioners Court unanimously approved a petition to create Emergency Services District No. 15, a…

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