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Voters could decide on a portion of Project Connect this November

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 by Caleb Pritchard

In 2014, boosters of Project Connect’s original light rail proposal campaigned under the slogan of “Rail or Fail.” Now, just four years after that vision went down in flames, voters might get another chance to weigh in on the renewed search for high-capacity transit investments. At Monday’s Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors meeting, Todd Hemingson, vice president of strategic planning and development, noted that agency staff would like to seamlessly move from the Project Connect planning phase to preliminary engineering and the feasibility studies of its proposed routes as mandated under the National Environmental Policy Act. “That takes additional funding,” he told the board. “We, of course, are strapped for cash ourselves, so one thought was, ‘Would it make sense to have a request for some bond dollars for that NEPA and preliminary engineering work?’” That would require asking City Council to place the request before voters as early as this November, a contingency that Council members Delia Garza and Ann Kitchen suggested should be considered sooner rather than later. After Chair Wade Cooper pointed out that the board will discuss Project Connect during a March 9 work session, Kitchen signaled her desire to have the board take action on the matter at its voting session on March 26. “I think it would have more weight if it’s an official request to the City Council to add it,” she explained.

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