Welcome to the 21st century, Austin. CapMetro chooses light rail, downtown tunnel

Media Contacts
Bay Scoggin

Students and advocates call it a win for Austinites and the environment

TexPIRG Education Fund

AUSTIN–Today, CapMetro’s plan for a generational investment in public transit for the city came out. The plan, the details of the long-awaited Project Connect vision map, include light rail recommendations for the two key high capacity corridors, one for the Guadalupe/Lamar corridor and one out to the airport, as well as an underground tunnel through the downtown business district. 

“Welcome to the 21st century, Austin. It’s absurd that one of the largest cities in America still lacks high capacity public transit, and that’s why I’m so excited CapMetro is submitting this transformational proposal. Project Connect will help us get around, improve our quality of life, and mitigate the worst aspects of climate change,” said Bay Scoggin, director of the advocacy organization TexPIRG Education Fund. “The best time to build transit was 20 years ago, but the second best time is right now.”

Earlier this year, TexPIRG Education Fund, started the group, Students for Transit, at the UT campus, which now has collected more than 2500 student signatures in support of Project Connect’s vision for high capacity transit. The group holds weekly meetings and volunteer activities and says that more than 50 students attended their kickoff meeting this semester.

“Our student members are thrilled that they will be able to get around easier, safer, and more environmentally. They know we need to be investing in projects at this scale to combat the worst aspects of the climate crisis, and that has them really jazzed up about this plan,” Scoggin continued.

Laura Culleton, a UT student and volunteer leader with Students for Transit, added, “We love it. It’s not easy to get around the city without a car, and we know that cars are the least environmental way to get around the city, so we really want more options. And everyone we talk to on campus feels pretty much the same way.”

TexPIRG Education Fund supports the Project Connect vision map and education efforts as part of its Transform Transportation campaign. Recent victories include getting CapMetro to commit to a fully electric fleet and working with our sister group, TexPIRG, to support the passage of the METRONext bond in Houston.