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Cap Metro board holds emergency meeting on COVID-19

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority board of directors will hold an emergency meeting this morning at 9 a.m., streaming live at the agency’s website. Thus far, in response to COVID-19, the agency has only cut services on its dozen shuttles that service students and faculty at the University of Texas. Agency spokesperson Mariette Hummel said the team is working all day every day to be able to respond in real time and implement any schedule changes as needed. Capital Metro is asking anyone who may be sick to refrain from traveling, and to limit non-essential travel to the greatest extent possible. It remains unlikely that transit service will be halted, though temporary schedule changes may be necessary. Capital Metro is enhancing its daily cleaning operations to add a disinfectant to commonly touched surfaces like handrails, door handles and stop request buttons. As is the case across the world, system ridership is down sharply, with MetroRail trains nearly empty yesterday, but Hummel added that ridership, and the revenue it generates for the agency, is not anyone’s primary concern at this point. Still, the crisis will certainly have an effect on sales tax revenue, which constitutes the bulk of Capital Metro’s funding operations. Economists are sounding warnings of a national recession, which could have an impact on the city’s anticipated property tax revenue election to fund its historic transit investment, Project Connect.

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