Austin Takes Steps Toward Constructing Urban Rail System
According to Rob Spiller, who is the Austin transportation director, installing a 17-mile urban rail system running in both directions will cost about $ 1.3 billion if it gets started in 2012. Furthermore, with every year the project is postponed, its overall cost will increase by about 5%. Unfortunately, this cost is significantly higher than the original estimate of $ 600 million. But, according to Spillar, this original estimate did not account for inflation costs over the next few years.
In an effort to get the project moving forward, the city council is taking steps to finalize the 2012 bond package that will help get it started. But, there are still many unanswered questions remaining about the trolley-like system, which would go from downtown Austin to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and to the new Mueller neighborhood.
As part of the plan for constructing the rail, the council has already awarded a $ 100,000 financial planning contract to Public Financial Management, which is located in Austin. As part of the contract, the company is expected to examine system costs as well as the potential sources of revenue for building, operating and maintaining an urban rail system. Of course, the city can pursue a number of different avenues for obtaining funding for the project, including pursuing loans, federal grants and tax increment financing as well as special tax districts. Spillar also indicated that there is a significant amount of interest in infrastructure projects from foreign investors, but the city plans to keep its options open.
Regardless of where all of the funding comes from, the city has plans to build the track in phases rather than all at once. In this way, the city can construct sections of the rail as the funding becomes available.
According to transportation officials, the estimated cost of the project does include a rainy day fund, which would serve as a cushion for the city in case it runs into unexpected expenses. The city’s plans to include plenty of padding in the budget is likely due to the criticism the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority received during the construction of its Red Line, which went significantly over its budget. To that end, Austin transportation officials are still attempting to decide upon who will operate the urban rail after it is constructed. According to staff, the annual cost of operating the system will run anywhere from $ 22 million to $ 25 million.
Jim Olenbush is a real estate broker that handles Austin homes for sale. His team works with Lake Austin homes, and they are also very experienced with Lake Travis homes. Jim and his team would love to answer any questions you may have about Austin.