The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will provide a $50-million grant to the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CapMetro) in Austin, Texas, for the purchase of four additional MetroRail cars and help construct a permanent, expanded downtown rail station.
“It’s encouraging that TxDOT is looking for and supporting multimodal strategies to help tackle our congestion challenges,” State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-TX-14) said. “It’s not possible to meet the demands of a thriving economy and fast growing population by only investing in roads. We need to embrace every available option to provide relief.”
Linda Watson, president and chief executive officer of CapMetro, said the state grant comes at an ideal time given record-breaking ridership on MetroRail.
“Sen. Watson and TxDOT share Capital Metro’s ‘all of the above’ multi-modal approach to solving traffic congestion issues in central Texas. We appreciate Sen. Watson’s leadership and TxDOT’s support toward this important goal,” Linda Watson said.
The state grant will dovetail with the $11.3 million in federal funding that CapMetro received in 2013 to lay double tracks at strategic points and increase the capacity of the 32-mile commuter line.
The state grant, when combined with recent federal and local investments, will enable CapMetro to increase the frequency of trains on the Red Line, cutting the wait time from 34 minutes during peak travel periods to 15 minutes. It will also allow for the addition of a late train after 7 p.m., giving more commuters a convenient alternative to their own vehicles.
Capital Metro requested the $50 million for new rail cars ($28 million) and a new downtown station ($22 million).