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Project Connect Inches Closer To Vote

Updated: Tuesday, June 17 2014, 05:50 PM CDT

There's only one more week left until the Austin's urban rail project could officially be headed for voter approval.

The Austin City Council and Capital Metro met Tuesday morning to discuss the plan before it goes to a council vote next week.

According to Project Connect officials, adding an urban rail would mean less traffic. Officials predict 10,000 less cars on the roads.

The urban rail investment as the plan stands would include 9.5 miles of rail with 16 stations. It would travel from East Riverside Drive and Grove Boulevard all the way to the soon to open ACC campus at Highland Mall. The plan also calls for four park and ride stations.

Project Connect estimates it would cost $1.4 billion to build and cost $22 million to run the rail for its first year.

The organization Austinites for Urban Rail Action, or AURA says, the rail is just too expensive to operate.

"It's not about whether it's going to be a great experience. It's about whether it's the best financial decision for the city to make -- and it's not," AURA member Niran Babaloa said. 

The CapMetro Board is expected to vote on Monday, June 23 and Austin City Council is expected to vote on the 26th. If it passes Project Connect would head to the voters on the ballot in November.

By Rachel Kent

Project Connect Inches Closer To Vote

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