Over $312 million has been approved for the Project Connect venture in Austin, Texas.
The Austin Transit Partnership unanimously passed the amount on Sept. 15, and the money will be used to start the MetroRail Orange and Blue line designs.
More than 50% of the budget will go toward the Orange and Blue lines. The Orange Line is a 20-mile route that will run north and south through downtown Austin, while the Blue Line will take passengers from downtown to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Design work for 30% of the projects is expected by the summer of 2022.
Another $600,000 was added to the budget for community engagement. The Austin Transit Partnership wants to create a mobile experience center for residents. To make sure residents and small businesses will not be displaced by Project Connect development, a $300 million anti-displacement fund will be one of the main budget items. The Austin Transit Partnership has already approved $42 million of the fund, which will be transferred to the city of Austin.