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Get out and vote for Prop A, local leaders say

Thursday, October 29, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Despite the cold and wind, a group of transit advocates gathered outside of Carver Branch library Wednesday to encourage Austinites to cast their votes in favor of Proposition A and Project Connect. Mayor Steve Adler said he is concerned people are making decisions on Prop A based on false or misleading information spread by organizations that refuse to disclose the sources of their funding. Adler said most of the opposition is taking advantage of the sticker shock reaction to the investment of $7.1 billion on the ballot, whereas the true impact of Project Connect would amount to about 78 cents per day per resident. “For the cost we get so much for our community – we get to actually do something about traffic, we get to meet our responsibility on climate change, we actually get to provide mobility equity,” Adler said. Chas Moore, executive director of Austin Justice Coalition, expanded on that last point, saying the plan is a “direct investment in the quality of life for black people, for brown people and for everyone who’s been marginalized because of their skin color or their bank account.” Adler clarified that the $300 million anti-displacement fund included in the plan is the largest such investment in the nation and would help ensure that “almost 60 percent of every income-restricted affordable housing unit in this city is going to be within walking distance of a Project Connect station.” Rep. Donna Howard also joined the group with calls for action: “If you want to offset 285,000 car trips a day and give everyone, whether you take public transit or not, a faster way to get around … if you want to cut down on our number-one source of greenhouse gases and give people a cleaner alternative to private cars, we need you to get out and vote for Prop A.” Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza urged residents to embrace the transit plan as a continuation of the city’s push toward equity. “Prop A so embodies our progressive values as Austinites” who “believe in science” and climate change, she said. Moore said while the city hasn’t always lived up to the progressive values it proclaims, “Prop A is our chance to put our money where our mouth is.”

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