Austin leaders to take up urban rail plan

February 14, 2011 7:52:40 AM PST
Austin leaders could spend $1.2 million for more studies of a proposed light rail line or a streetcar system. The Austin City Council on Thursday is scheduled to consider approving $700,000 for a federally mandated environmental study. About $500,000 is sought for a joint project with Capital Metro to update the area's transit plan.

A commuter line, Capital Metro's MetroRail, opened in March 2010 with service connecting Leander (lee-AN'-der) and downtown Austin.

The Austin American-Statesman reports a formal bond proposal on the city's $1.3 billion urban rail plan is not expected to go before voters until at least November 2012. About $2.6 million already has been authorized for consultant studies.

Rail critic Jim Skaggs says the city has not done an unbiased alternative analysis or cost-effectiveness studies.