Thursday, February 11, 2010

Austin, Tex., ponders LRT or streetcar option

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Still struggling to launch its first rail service after months of delays, Austin, Tex., nonetheless is also weighing a commitment to light rail transit or streetcar services, including the building of a rail bridge over Lady Bird Lake.

cap_metro_logo.jpgCity Transportation Director Robert Spillar said the bridge could be built farther east or west, and not necessarily over the lake. Austin and its consulting engineers are settling on a preferred route and are scheduled to unveil it Feb. 25 to the City Council. Spillar says the upcoming map will not specify a route across Lady Bird Lake, instead leaving as possibilities existing bridges at Congress Avenue or South First Street or a new bridge.

Voter approval of such the overall plan is required, and a referendum could be offered to the voters this November. Anti-rail partisans in the state capital, still feasting on the woes of Capitol Metropolitan Transportation Authority to initiate regional rail service on a 35-mile starter line, are expected to oppose any additional rail plan.