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M1EK Oct 23, 2008 8:07 PM

"How about the long list of subsidies the entire State, including Williamson County, gives to Austin?"

You're crazy - Austin gets nothing but the back of the hand from the state - and, by the way, the state office buildings pay zero, yes, ZERO dollars in property taxes.

As for CM and Williamson County, the 2000 LRT plan served precisely as many Williamson County communities as does the 2004 commuter rail plan. The difference is that the 2004 commuter rail plan doesn't actually serve Austin. And the only city which opted out anywhere near the 2000 timeframe was Cedar Park, which actually would have gotten service with LRT. The other communities in Williamson County either never joined CM to begin with, or dropped out a long time previously.

As for your genius scheme, they're talking about maybe building a line which would only carry people TO, not through ONTO, the CM line. At which point the passengers would be riding for the same (subsidized) price as residents of Leander and (maybe) Austin, despite the fact that their city doesn't pay the subsidy.

alexjon Oct 23, 2008 8:24 PM

State capitals always get short shrift when it comes to tax revenue. State offices often cost millions to run and absorb so much money that the benefits are insignificant or non-existant.

I don't think Austin itself should be blasted for not wanting to pay it forward to other cities that won't play by their rules. Heck, Olympia and Salem do it up here-- they are on straight-shot rail trunk lines to the biggest metros but are so wary that they're giving up more cash that they opt out every time.

electricron Oct 24, 2008 3:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3871952)
"How about the long list of subsidies the entire State, including Williamson County, gives to Austin?"

You're crazy - Austin gets nothing but the back of the hand from the state - and, by the way, the state office buildings pay zero, yes, ZERO dollars in property taxes.

As for your genius scheme, they're talking about maybe building a line which would only carry people TO, not through ONTO, the CM line. At which point the passengers would be riding for the same (subsidized) price as residents of Leander and (maybe) Austin, despite the fact that their city doesn't pay the subsidy.

Likewise, residents of Austin will be able to use Round Rock's train.
So it is a two way street of freebies.

It's not my genius scheme, it's Dallas's Dart and Fort Worth's "T" scheme.

Read about it at
http://www.dart.org/debtdocuments/bp...L.%20SEC.5.pdf

Cost Sharing Arrangement with the T Based on Revenue Seat Miles -
DART’s ILA with the T calls for all revenues that are generated from TRE including fares, advertising, and special services to be used to pay for the service. The remaining subsidy is then allocated to DART and the T based on a revenue seat mile formula. For example, if the shared cost to operate TRE is $100 and TRE collects $25 in fares and $10 from other sources, the remaining $65 would be split based on the number of revenue seat miles operated in the DART service area and the T service area. DART and the T individually absorb their own staff, administrative, and station maintenance costs. Because of the additional trains that will be operating between Dallas’ Union Station and South Irving, West Irving, and CentrePort, it is anticipated that DART’s share of the subsidy will be approximately 80% in FY 2001, and 70% thereafter. The T’s share is estimated at $1.2 million in FY 2001, $1.6 million in FY 2002, and $2.4 million per year thereafter, and is included in Other Sources of Cash. The mid-cities have agreed to contribute $775,000 per year beginning in FY 2002 for services that their citizens utilize, which is included as operating income and reduces the net cost of service that is shared between the T and DART.

I believe CapMetro and Round Rock (Williamson County) could reach a similar Interlocking Agreement for continuos joint transit services.
Golly, the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth rarely agree on anything, yet they have found ways to make joint things work, for example the TRE, and DFW Airport.

I can't believe Austin can't or will not make peace (agreements) with its suburbs.

M1EK Oct 24, 2008 6:05 PM

Quote:

Likewise, residents of Austin will be able to use Round Rock's train.
Which, of course, precisely zero people would ever want to do. Nice try.

And, no, comparing Dallas/Ft. Worth with Austin/Round Rock doesn't show you have any clue what you're talking about. The lege likes (mildly dislikes) D/FW equally. The lege HATES Austin and LOVES Round Rock.

FAIL.

Saddle Man Oct 24, 2008 6:08 PM

/\/\/\ Very, very, very true. The Lege is always running around and undermining things that Austin is doing.

electricron Oct 26, 2008 3:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3873664)
Which, of course, precisely zero people would ever want to do. Nice try.

And, no, comparing Dallas/Ft. Worth with Austin/Round Rock doesn't show you have any clue what you're talking about.
FAIL.

Over 10,000 employees at Dell's headquarters in Round Rock, and not one lives in Austin who would take the train? Who are you kidding?
http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/...oKen8/610x.jpg

Considering you may have never rode the train, what makes you THE expert on who will ride it?

I wasn't comparing Austin & Round Rock with Dallas & Fort Worth. I was stating that Dallas & Fort Worth can work together on large projects, are you suggesting Austin & Round Rock will never, ever?

breathesgelatin Oct 26, 2008 6:07 AM

LOL. I live in Austin. I have never been to Round Rock. I have no plans to EVER go to Round Rock.

The idea that I would take a train there - particularly a sucky one that required a transfer - makes me laugh out loud.

The more electricon talks, the more ridiculous s/he sounds.

Saddle Man Oct 26, 2008 10:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by breathesgelatin (Post 3876015)
LOL. I live in Austin. I have never been to Round Rock. I have no plans to EVER go to Round Rock.

The idea that I would take a train there - particularly a sucky one that required a transfer - makes me laugh out loud.

The more electricon talks, the more ridiculous s/he sounds.

I couldn't agree more.

NormalgeNyus Oct 26, 2008 11:33 PM

while a train only going to dell or la fronteria will get some traffic i just dont think it would be worth the cost unless it hit dell diamond and the outlet mall also. if it did that that train would be full.

alexjon Oct 27, 2008 12:52 AM

30,000 people work at Microsoft in Redmond and I've never been there.

Well, I rode by real quick, but I've never been there.

They have refused heavy/regional rail links and have demanded light rail. I think I'd go on the train-- they have a great set of cafeteria-type places there

M1EK Oct 27, 2008 4:05 PM

The laughable part was pretending that Round Rock is remotely close to Austin's league somehow, like Fort Worth is to Dallas.

NormalgeNyus Oct 27, 2008 4:45 PM

i think the real point should be not that "is round rock in austin's so called league", but should be "Does round rock need alternates in transportation?". The answer to the second question is yes. When you have almost 100,000 leaving Round rock for work and at least that many coming to round rock to shop, you need to relieve that traffic. I think the reason why more people are not on board with this light rail/ commuter rail idea is that it always wanna focus on office traffic and doesnt want to include any places that most of the people would like to go. We need stops at malls, attractions, and the airport.

M1EK Oct 27, 2008 6:15 PM

Sure. Round Rock obviously needs alternatives. They also need to stop being whiny bitches and join Capital Metro, so they're paying the bills they owe. (If they build a train or run buses that just drop people off at the first CM stop, as they're already planning in the bus case, they're expecting the city of Austin to yet again subsidize their citizens as we already do with highway spending).

electricron Oct 27, 2008 11:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3878040)
Sure. Round Rock obviously needs alternatives. They also need to stop being whiny bitches and join Capital Metro, so they're paying the bills they owe. (If they build a train or run buses that just drop people off at the first CM stop, as they're already planning in the bus case, they're expecting the city of Austin to yet again subsidize their citizens as we already do with highway spending).

I too think they should join CapMetro. That way they'll get some say on what CapMetro is planning for the future.
How many transit agencies should Round Rock have to join? At least ASA is actually planning on sending rail to them. What has CapMetro promised?

NormalgeNyus Oct 28, 2008 5:39 AM

i dont care if round rock has its own system or austin's as long as austin gives us a good deal. I mean austin would not be where it is today if the people in the suburbs did not spend most of their money in austin. People in austin are lucky they have it so good and need to stop whinning about people in the suburbs. If we stopped shopping in austin or working in austin or eating in austin, austin would be nothing.

Raining Inside Oct 28, 2008 7:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NormalgeNyus (Post 3879024)
i dont care if round rock has its own system or austin's as long as austin gives us a good deal. I mean austin would not be where it is today if the people in the suburbs did not spend most of their money in austin. People in austin are lucky they have it so good and need to stop whinning about people in the suburbs. If we stopped shopping in austin or working in austin or eating in austin, austin would be nothing.

What!? The suburbs would not exist if it were not for Austin. People move to Central Texas because of Austin. Nobody moves to Leander, Buda, Round Rock because of Leander, Buda, Round Rock. They move there to be near Austin. And I live in Round Rock.

M1EK Oct 28, 2008 2:24 PM

Normalgenyus, the 1% sales tax the city gets when you eat here doesn't come close to making up for the costs of building more of our own roads than Round Rock has to, to take just one example.

The subsidy equation is overwhelmingly FROM Austin TO Round Rock.

alexjon Oct 28, 2008 4:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NormalgeNyus (Post 3879024)
i dont care if round rock has its own system or austin's as long as austin gives us a good deal. I mean austin would not be where it is today if the people in the suburbs did not spend most of their money in austin. People in austin are lucky they have it so good and need to stop whinning about people in the suburbs. If we stopped shopping in austin or working in austin or eating in austin, austin would be nothing.

Booming cities trend toward an insular economy, grabbing more sales tax inside than out from higher-level and more wealthy workers moving into the city limits.

In short, the more condo towers you see, the less Round Rock matters.

As it should be.

Jdawgboy Oct 28, 2008 7:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NormalgeNyus (Post 3879024)
i dont care if round rock has its own system or austin's as long as austin gives us a good deal. I mean austin would not be where it is today if the people in the suburbs did not spend most of their money in austin. People in austin are lucky they have it so good and need to stop whinning about people in the suburbs. If we stopped shopping in austin or working in austin or eating in austin, austin would be nothing.


LOL hmmm last I checked Austin still has the highest densest population in the metro area. Even if all of williamson county stopped comming into Austin for whatever reason or another, we still have nearly 750,000 inside the city limits and over 900,000 in Travis County. And when it comes down to it, Round Rock has plenty of shops and stores and an outlet mall and IKEA, its not like a lot of people who live in Williamson county really shop in Austin that much... So not quite sure what you mean by your statement.:haha:

KevinFromTexas Oct 29, 2008 3:04 AM

From the Austin American-Statesman
http://www.statesman.com/blogs/conte...nge_could.html

Ben White/I-35 interchange could be completed

By Ben Wear | Tuesday, October 28, 2008, 06:10 PM


The Ben White/Interstate 35 interchange, which has frustrated southside commuters because its four southern bridges remain undone, would be completed under a proposal the Texas Transportation Commission will vote on Thursday.

Construction could begin in about a year but no completion date has been determined.

Aside from the $41 million for the interchange, the commission’s $1.6 billion list of projects includes $171.5 million to complete almost all of the expansion of Texas 195 from I-35 to the Bell County line south of Killeen. The road, which the U.S. Army considers a critical route for troops and equipment headed to Gulf Coast ports, has seen a considerable number of fatal accidents over the years in sections where there is no median separating oncoming traffic.

Given the focus in recent years on using whatever urban construction dollars that TxDOT has as seed money for toll roads, the decision to seek funding for those two projects represents something of a changeup. But State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, who had worked with TxDOT’s Austin district engineer Bob Daigh to formulate the Central Texas request, said he was looking for “long-promised, clearly needed projects” that could be done relatively quickly — without tolls.

As for the five pending Austin toll roads, which have been hung up at least in part after TxDOT pulled back a promise of several million dollars, Watson said “we’re going to have to keep dealing with that. This comes from a different pot of money.”

That pot, or at least most of it, will be $1.5 billion that TxDOT intends to borrow from the bond market, with the rest of the money coming from existing TxDot funds. Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick had sent a letter to the agency this summer strongly urging it to go ahead and borrow up to $3 billion that the Legislature had authorized. The money to pay back the bonds, the leaders said, would come from the Legislature deciding next spring to fund the Department of Public Safety using general state revenue rather than money from the gas tax.

Doing so would give TxDOT what amounts to an instant infusion of $600 million a year. The law only allows TxDOT to borrow $1.5 billion a year against the gas tax, so the rest of the $3 billion would become available later.

Construction on the four remaining Ben White/I-35 bridges could begin in a little over a year, Daigh said Tuesday. The department has to amend a federal environmental document approved years ago.

How long would construction then take?

“I don’t even want to hazard a guess,” Daigh said. But he added that the project will be done on an accelerated schedule, one complicated by the work occurring over the heads of tens of thousands of daily motorists on I-35.

Texas 195, Daigh said, already has environmental clearance. The 15 or so miles of work, which involves creating a four-lane highway divided by a median, will be done in pieces with various projects beginning over the next one to three years, Daigh said. The agency in most places will have to buy right of way alongside the current road.

Individual projects would start, Daigh said, as soon as TxDOT acquired the needed land. Daigh and Watson, at least for now, were not able to get $32 million for one piece of Texas 195 south of Florence between Williamson County Road 233 and County Road 239. Daigh said that if Congress passes a bill to pump money into roads and other infrastructure, as has been discussed in recent weeks as a way to stimulate the economy, closing that remaining gap would be something Daigh would pursue.


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