AUSTIN - It’s been one of the most contentious issues facing Travis County voters during this election cycle, but Election Day will decide the fate of a $720 million mobility bond package -- Proposition 1 -- that is being pitched as a way to begin to alleviate some of the congestion on Austin’s streets.
The mobility bond is separated into three major sections: Local mobility, regional mobility and corridor improvement projects. The majority of the money, $482 million, is designated to corridor improvement projects. Several major roadways such as Lamar Boulevard, Burnet Road, Airport Boulevard and Guadalupe Street will see improvements at intersections. Local mobility projects – which account for $137 million – would go toward creating safe routes for schools, sidewalks, urban trails and bikeways. The remaining $101 million would address projects on Loop 360, Spicewood Springs Road, Anderson Mill Road and Old Bee Caves Road.
The cost of the bond will be paid by raising property taxes 2.25 cents per $100 of taxable value. The taxable value is calculated after applying property tax exceptions. GO HERE to determine the anticipated annual impact on your property taxes.
What proponents said before the election:
Move Austin Forward claims the plan “will significantly address congestion, increase safety, and provide more transportation choices for Austinites by increasing (the number of) vehicles at key intersections throughout the city.”
The coalition claims there is $9.5 billion in identified mobility needs over the next 10 to 30 years, and that the bond would make “real progress” as the region continues to grow.
“By in large we're adding more lane miles than we are taking away. In the places where we are taking away lanes are two -- that's East Riverside where we could potentially have high capacity transit, center running lanes or on Guadalupe the drag where we could also do the same thing. Essentially where you have the density,” Move Austin Forward Campaign Manager Jim Wick told KVUE on Oct. 25.
What opponents said before the election:
Honest Transportation Solutions claims the plan will eliminate vehicle lanes, consume most of the city’s borrowing capacity, promote further gentrification of Austin and hurt the city’s small businesses. District 1 Council Member Ora Houston has come out against the proposition, saying the impact on individual taxpayers is unknown.
In addition, HTS claims the plan will serve a small segment of the city with everyone expected to pay.
“It favors developers, select corridor residents and the few who bicycle these routes with costly infrastructure of questionable need. This is localized improvement paid for by all taxpayers, most of whom will not benefit,” the HTS website states.
“I would like to see us get rid of this bond, implement a bond that truly deals with congestion. These aren't even the seven most congested corridors in Austin,” Jim Skaggs of HTS told KVUE on Oct. 25.
Another ballot issue called Prop. 1 was voted on by Austinites in May. That proposition, which was rejected by 55.8 percent of voters May 7, led to ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft ceasing operations.