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Stories by Caleb Pritchard

Thursday, May 25, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Task force endorses plan to expand convention center

After nearly six months of toil, a visibly exhausted Visitor Impact Task Force granted its imprimatur to a proposal to fund the expansion of the Austin Convention Center, albeit with a number of attached recommendations. Tuesday’s vote came at the…

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Capital Metro’s Downtown Station plans inch forward

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Board of Directors moved forward on Monday with plans to rebuild the downtown MetroRail station, but the long-planned project still has to clear several more hurdles until the shovels hit the ground. At its monthly…

Thursday, May 18, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

State Senate trumps Austin’s ride-hailing regulations

The Texas Legislature has cleared the road for Uber and Lyft to return to Austin on their own terms. On Wednesday, the state Senate overwhelmingly approved House Bill 100 on second and third readings, sending the statewide ride-hailing regulations to…

Thursday, May 18, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

HOT talk at Commissioners Court

The proposal to expand the Austin Convention Center could not only gobble up several downtown blocks, it could also swallow whole an untapped revenue stream worth millions of dollars each year for Travis County. On Tuesday, the Commissioners Court took…

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

TravCo bond talk takes explosive turn

Travis County is quietly but quickly approaching a major deadline in its runup to a potential 2017 bond referendum and if Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting was any indication, members of both the court and a citizens advisory council are deeply…

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

UTC endorses second convention center skybridge

Plans for another new skybridge in downtown Austin have cleared the second of three challenges set forth last month by a skeptical Planning Commission. On May 9, the proposal scored the support of the Urban Transportation Commission after that body…

Monday, May 15, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Project Connect goes citywide

Three years after a proposal to lay 9.5 miles of light rail across a sliver of Austin went down in flames, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority planners are broadening their horizons. On Friday, the agency’s board of directors heard the preliminary results…

Friday, May 12, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Effort to move buses faster stalls at Urban Transportation Commission

Top local transportation planners on Tuesday tapped the brakes on an activist-crafted effort aimed at increasing transit use. At the monthly Urban Transportation Commission meeting, Transportation Director Rob Spillar, Corridor Program Implementation Office Director Mike Trimble and Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority…

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Key justice programs survive fight between county, governor

Crucial county programs that lost funding over a row with Gov. Greg Abbott will be able to stay online through at least October thanks to some deep budgetary scouring. On Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court approved a proposed package…

Monday, May 8, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Renewed Project Connect closes in on milestone

The brain trust behind Project Connect will reveal which specific corridors have made the cut to advance to the next round of high-capacity transit planning on Friday. Last Wednesday, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Long Range Planning Director Javier Arguello told…

Thursday, May 4, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Council gears up for mobility bond investments

City Council is on the verge of approving tens of millions of dollars to help jump-start the ambitious mobility bond program voters approved last November. The agenda holds a full six items that would cumulatively earmark $39 million for transportation…

Monday, May 1, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

For Capital Metro, UT shuttles ground what could be high-flying ridership numbers

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s latest systemwide ridership statistics would be trending upward were it not for an unlikely population: college students. According to recently posted data, the agency gave fewer rides in March than it did over the same…

Thursday, April 27, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

County undaunted in North Campus planning

True to the word of staff and elected officials, Travis County is moving ahead with plans for a mixed-use development that unexpectedly came up short in a competition for state funding. Last Tuesday, April 18, Economic & Strategic Planning Director…

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

City developing concrete plans to make bus passengers more comfortable

If you close your eyes, you can imagine yourself raiding Berlin in 1943, the deafening explosions of flak violently rankling the thin fuselage that separates you from the battlefields below. But in reality, you’re riding one of the hundreds of…

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Small change brings big boost to MetroRapid

MetroRapid’s popularity has taken off after a small but significant tweak the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority made in January. So far in 2017, both lines of the limited-stop service have together seen a 26-percent increase in ridership compared to the…

Thursday, April 20, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

House sets the table for Uber and Lyft’s return to Austin

Uber and Lyft’s self-imposed exile from Austin could be nearing the beginning of the end. On Wednesday, the Texas House of Representatives voted to approve House Bill 100 on a crucial second reading. The bill would create a statewide regulatory…

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Commissioners Court approves 20-year vision for juvenile justice complex

The Travis County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday on a plan that could expand the Gardner-Betts Juvenile Justice Center at an estimated initial cost of $73.3 million. The court unanimously approved the Juvenile Probation Master Plan, a lengthy document that maps…

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Urban Affairs Committee takes up preservation bill

A state representative will be making some changes to a bill he proposed that would set a rigorous statewide standard for historic preservation against a property owner’s objections. Discussion of Houston-area Rep. Gary Elkins’ House Bill 3418 at the April…

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…

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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