Austin city council approves $720 million transportation bond

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Council approves mobility bond, postpones Central Austin housing development

August 12, 2016

Note: Interview with east Austin resident Gavino Fernandez residing at same location since 1979. In 1979 property taxes were $37and in 2015 property taxes are $5,555. See Reference bottom of this blog for additional information

AUSTIN – UPDATE: …Austin City Council approved the first and second reading of a $720 million mobility bond. The funding will focus on transforming eight major roads into what Mayor Steve Adler has called “smart corridors.”

Mayor Adler released the following statement on the vote:

“The consensus we achieved tonight with unanimous approval of the ballot language for the Smart Corridor plan reflects the widespread support in the community to address traffic congestion, improve transit, increase safety, and build walkable neighborhoods. This sets up Austin for a big win.”

…During it’s meeting Thursday the Austin City Council is scheduled to tackle two big items: Setting the language for a multi-million dollar mobility bond and discussing a large housing development proposed for Central Austin.

That housing development, The Grove at Shoal Creek, would add more than 1,200 homes to the city’s housing stock. An additional 104 homes would be classified as affordable housing. The proposal is a mixed-use development planned for 75 acres located at 45th Street and Bull Creek. In addition to the homes, it will have businesses and park space. The developers plan to extend roads through the neighborhood. To fit all of that in the space, The Grove is applying to be a Planned Unit Development (PUD), which requires council’s approval.

“In order to qualify for a PUD, you have to have a superior development,” said Kelly Weiss, CEO of Community Wheelhouse and Grove affordable housing consultant. “And along with PUD zoning comes things like density bonuses which allows more housing to be concentrated on a site.”

But people who live in the area are concerned the development will cause more traffic congestion. They also say the size of the project and height of the buildings are a concern for them. The Bull Creek Road Coalition is requesting the council indefinitely postpone the request for The Grove to be a PUD.

Council is also expected to set the ballot language for a $720 million mobility bond. Council will take that vote after a public hearing to listen to what Austinites have to say about the proposed mobility bond. The public hearing is set for 4 p.m., but could happen later than that because there are other items on the council’s agenda. Mayor Steve Adler, who said the bond will help ease traffic, reports that if passed, it will cost taxpayers about $5 per month.

Here’s a breakdown of how the money is proposed to be delegated:

  • $482 million will go toward improving seven major corridors across the city
  • $101 million will improve other corridors including Loop 360 and Parmer Lane
  • $137 million will improve sidewalks and urban trails, the Austin Bicycle Master Plan and the Vision Zero Action Plan

Austin council gives initial OK to put $720 million bond on ballot

by Ben Wear August 11, 2016 (Excerpts)

Austinites just got a $720 million reason to go to the polls Nov. 8. The Austin City Council, after a few tweaks, took a unified step Thursday night toward asking voters for permission to borrow and spend that unprecedented sum for road, bike, pedestrian and transit projects over the next eight years.

…Approval of the proposition would increase the city’s property tax rate by 2.25 cents per $100 of valuation once all the debt has been issued by 2020, city financial officials estimate. That increase — about $56 a year on a $250,000 home — would remain in place for about 20 years, and the payment would grow with increased valuation of property over time.

The council spurned the call of several members of the public earlier in the evening to break Mayor Steve Adler’s huge spending plan into three or more parts, allowing voters to pick and choose among different flavors of transportation spending. The package remains an all-or-nothing proposition which, if approved, would be almost five times larger than any transportation bond package to pass muster previously with Austin voters.

…The largest piece of the bond would be $482 million for what Adler calls Smart Corridors. That money would be divided, at the city staff’s later discretion, among nine main streets in the city. The changes on those roads, based on studies done over the past five years, would vary. But generally, the city would be adding bike lanes, wider sidewalks, medians where they don’t exist, curb cutouts for buses, signalization to allow buses to get back into traffic, more turn bays at intersections, some bus priority lanes and technology upgrades. Most of those changes would help alternative travel modes. But Adler has said vehicular traffic would see faster travel times, mainly because of the intersection and signalization improvements, but also because of reduced bus blockages.

…The package will also include $137 million for “local mobility,” primarily in sidewalks, bikeways and trails. And there would be $101 million for “regional mobility” on larger streets and some Texas Department of Transportation highways, primarily in the western suburbs.

…The council had earlier agreed to move $6 million from street repairs to sidewalks. So, in all, sidewalk advocates came away from the meeting with an extra $10 million. It wasn’t clear Friday how that added money would be allocated among the 10 council districts.

The council on Thursday also discussed a $400 million light rail plan that advocates had wanted to put before voters this fall, and many members said light rail for Austin remains on their to-do list. But the council didn’t take action on that issue. The council, in a separate agenda item involving planning for a possible 2018 bond election, initially approved instructions to a citizens bond committee to have the “clear goal” of pinpointing a rail route and a financial plan. But, after further discussion, that language was shelved.


Screen shots from interview



From public records Travis Central Appraisal District search:

Gavino Fernandez 208 Caney St. value $261,827. 2016 taxes sidewalk-austin-prop1

Stephen Adler 210 Lavaca Unit 2605 $1,110,313. 2016 taxes austin-sidewalk-prop2

Gavino Fernandez 208 Caney St. value $241,929. 2015 taxes sidewalk-austin-prop3

Stephen Adler 210 Lavaca Unit 2605 $2,690,334. 2015 taxes sidewalk-austin-prop4

Inflation calculator: $37 in 1979 is equivalent to $122 in 2016 about 232% increase. Actual increase of taxes $5,518.

City of Austin 2016 Program Income Limits by Household Size pdf  data is for Travis County.

austin-income Austin economy 2014 data



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