Austin’s Project Connect Continues Despite Legal Setbacks
In November 2023, opponents of Austin’s Project Connect filed a lawsuit claiming that the new project plans strayed too far from the initial design approved by voters the previous year. Now, the City Council and Austin Transit Partnership (ATP) are denying the lawsuit’s claims in an attempt to keep the project on track.
The opponents, made up of hamburger restaurant Dirty Martin’s and several local political leaders, say that the City lost its authority to collect taxes on the project once it announced plans to scale back the route significantly. This reaction follows ATP’s announcement in June 2023 that inflation and design changes increased the project budget to over $10 billion, more than double the original cost. It was decided to break up the project into phases to cut costs, starting with the $5 billion phase one, running north to 38th Street, south to Oltorf Street and east to Yellow Jacket Lane.
58% of Austin voters supported the project, which would have raised property taxes by hundreds of dollars yearly to improve and expand Austin’s public transportation network.
Map of Project Connect Phase One courtesy of Austin Transit Authority
City to begin environmental review of the proposed route this spring
While local transit officials have yet to provide a timeline for future phases, they are already discussing the next steps of construction with potential contractors and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The environmental process along phase one’s path will begin this spring. Once a Record of Decision (ROD) is determined, there will be a public comment period, and then ATP will contact individual property owners to begin the survey and appraisal process. Read about Project Connect’s implementation plan here, and learn more about the project’s land acquisition process here.
If you believe your land may be impacted by phase one of Project Connect, the eminent domain and condemnation attorneys at Barron, Adler, Clough & Oddo, PLLC can help you build a case before ATP sends you an initial offer letter. Contact an expert attorney today to learn more about your property rights.