Austin Accepts Tax Hike to Tackle Congestion

AUSTIN, Texas — On Tuesday, Austin residents approved a $720M mobility bond package aimed at lessening traffic congestion; a problem the state capital has grown increasingly notorious for.

City officials say the mobility bond, also called Proposition 1, will focus on improving traffic flow by repairing various intersections and corridors, as well as reconstructing sidewalks, bike paths and trails, reports KVUE.

Roughly 60 percent of voters cast their ballot in favor of the bond, which will be funded through a property tax increase, contributing the rising cost of living in one of the nation’s fastest growing cities.

Homeowners will be forced to cough up an extra 2.25 cents per $100 of taxable value, or roughly $75 more per year for residents living in a median-priced home, which have now reached $345,000, according to the latest data.

Austin City Council approved proposition 1 unanimously in August just three months after adopting new regulations that ultimately resulted in the departure of ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft.

Eager to enter the market and fill the transportation gap, seven different ridesharing companies launched services in Austin, including Fare, Fasten, Get Me, InstaRyde, RideAustin, Wingz, and zTrip.

While there are certainly plenty of apps to choose from, the startups are still struggling to meet rider demand during peak times as successfully as their now-departed competitors.

While the debate is settled as to whether Austin has a traffic problem, the solution is much less clear. As expected with a project of this magnitude, Proposition 1 was embroiled with criticism from the start.

While the funds are reportedly split into three project categories: local mobility, regional mobility and corridor improvements, council members Don Zimmerman and Ann Kitchen told local media the plan needed specific dollar amounts for each project proposal.

Current projections outline $101M for regional mobility projects, $482M for corridor improvements and $137M for local mobility projects, according to austintexas.gov.

City officials say the total cost for improving transportation in Austin is closer to $1.5 billion. The City is currently searching for other sources of revenue to fund the remainder of the project.

Julie Wilson is contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @JWills512.


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