Believing they might accomplish something regarding Austin’s growing traffic congestion, voters authorized $720 million in new debt for Austin on Tuesday. The spending spree will ostensibly go towards various transportation-related projects around the capital city.
The key feature of Mayor Adler’s ‘Smart Corridors’ plan will restructure several existing streets and intersections around Austin. Combined with added bicycle and bus lanes, Austin commuters can expect to lose about a mile of drivable lanes, and lose about 20 miles of left-turn lanes throughout the city.
Voters can also expect a higher property tax bill to cover the $720 million (which doesn’t include interest payments). We’ve covered previously how the current projections are incorrect: while the published number is around $56 per year, the average property owner can actually expect an increase of around $125 per year on a home valued at $250,000.
It remains to be seen now what impact the Austin bond and its projects will have on traffic congestion around the city, but an overall reduction in drivable lanes can’t bode well.
Beyond the worsening traffic congestion, the City of Austin has taken another step towards socially engineering citizens out of cars and towards public transportation.