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Project Connect steams into Commissioners Court

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Staff from the Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority on Tuesday gave the Travis County Commissioners Court an update on Project Connect, the high-capacity transit planning effort aimed at getting residents into, out of and around Central Austin. The agency is wrapping up the first phase of the rebooted process, in which planners identified potential corridors suitable for big new investments, as well as existing services ripe for substantial enhancements. Capital Metro’s Joe Clemens specifically mentioned three projects that he identified as relevant to the county’s interests: the planned Green Line MetroRail service from downtown Austin to Elgin; MetroExpress service from Austin to Hutto; and bus-rapid transit on I-35 that would connect to the southern reaches of the county (left unmentioned were any enhanced services along Guadalupe Street downtown, where the county’s criminal and civil justice complex sits blocks away from the county’s administrative headquarters). While Commissioner Brigid Shea expressed pleasure with the idea of utilizing existing rail to establish commuter service to the eastern parts of the county, Commissioner Gerald Daugherty was blunt in his distaste for what he suggested would be a low-ridership line. “The Green Line, as far as I’m concerned is the stupidest thing we can do,” Daugherty said.

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