Travis County

Agenda Item

Receive presentation from Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority staff on the pilot program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning. (Judge Eckhardt)


Department:CC Agenda requestSponsors:
Category:General Government

Meeting History

Feb 12, 2019 9:00 AM Video Commissioners Court Voting Session
draft Draft

Members of the Court heard from:

Rita Jones, Mayor, City of Manor

Randy Clark, CEO, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CapMetro)

Julie Joe, Assistant County Attorney



Feb 12, 2019 9:00 AMVideo (Windows Media) MP4 VideoCommissioners CourtVoting Session

11:04 AMClerk. And I think that that communication has been -- has been made through your comments.
11:05 AMAt some point I would like some guidance from the county attorney as to whether or not this is the kind of thing that we could attach to the release of funds.
And we do have that -- I believe that opportunity for other funds.
Yes, and I wanted to mention specifically what these funds are for is with the new voting system that's coming out, the county clerk is having to review all of their polling sites to make sure they will be compatible with the new equipment and also to make sure where there are gaps they will find suitable sites too. I'm certain they have heard your comments too and will be pursuing them.
Great. I look forward to working with them. Thank you.

11:05 AMTransfers. All those in favor? That passes unanimously. Thank you. Alan was trying to scoot out and I grabbed him on that one. Agenda item number 21, receive presentation from capital metropolitan transportation authority staff on the pilot program for transit oriented development planning. It's great to have you all here. So come on down. Always a pleasure to have you and thank you so much for your patience. How are you?
11:06 AMI'm wonderful. how about yourself in.
Really good. how was the commute in this morning? [laughter] you got to come in outside of peak time, though, I hope.
11:07 AMSo 290 and i-35 wasn't too bad?
I'm sorry, what now?
Was 290 and i-35 not too bad this morning? Maybe?
How was the traffic.
Oh, no problem at all. it was after 8:00 rush hour.
Avoid the peak hour.
No peak hours.
Wonderful. so let's hear about our transit oriented development plan.
No, I just wanted to say thanks for having us. We've been talking about the green line for so long. You've been around as long as I have probably and so you know this has been on the books for a long, long time. I'm just elated we have this grant money because I think it will profit the citizens of travis county and hopefully the surrounding areas. I'm just thrilled. Absolutely thrilled.
I am too. I really am.
So with that, thank you, mayor johnsy. President of capital metro, appreciate the opportunity to have a few moments to visit with you. I want to thank the commissioners court for the opportunity to speak today about the partnership between cap metro, the county and city of austin. In December cap metro was awarded a $600,000 grant from the federal transit administration in which the county and city were supporting partners, did letters of support on. This grant will fund a transit oriented development, also known as t. O. D. It will help define the land use decisions needed to support the development of cap metro's green line as mentioned and as you can see on the screen here, the illustration of what the green line would be. The green line is a potential corridor under our and complexity. Happy to take any conversation, questions for you, but we just really wanted to thank the commission for being a partner. Give an update on this grant, $600,000, and how we're all going to move forward in the future as a team. So thank you.
11:10 AMThanks so much for being here. Commissioner Travillion, this is right in your wheelhouse.
Well, yes. I first want to thank my colleague on the cap metro board, mayor johnsy, and the ceo for cap metro as well who has really hit the ground running. We appreciate all the efforts and work that has been done by staff. We know that's an area that is rapidly becoming more dense. We know that there are a number of communities that are being planned and planted, seems like almost every quarter. So our expectation is that area will continue to grow significantly. And this will provide a real opportunity for connectivity. And particularly in an area that historically has been under served. So we appreciate all of the work that's been done and any resources, any efforts that we can provide out of the precinct 1 office, please know that we are available and on call.
11:11 AMThank you.
Commissioners? Commissioner Shea?
I -- i'm thrilled about the study and the federal funding. I think the more we can explore utilizing particularly existing rail lines and corridors for options for people for transit, the better we're going to be in the community. I think we need more options, not fewer. But one of the questions I have relates to if the study will include a look at tying affordable housing to the transit stops. We had a long discussion about that I think back in the '90s during the plans for the red line, the development of the red line. And there was discussion about transit oriented developments around those lines and the rationale is if you are putting public money into building transportation infrastructure, that you should incorporate measurable public benefits at the transit stops. Those are the logical places where you will have opportunities for small businesses for retail, for housing. And one of the things where I think we drop the ball as a community is there was no requirement along the red line for affordable housing at those transit stops. And I don't think any affordable housing interests at any of those transit stops. I could be wrong but i'm not aware of any. From my perspective, if you are putting public money into building infrastructure, you create an enormous increase in the value of the land around those transit stops for the developers. I think there should be -- I think there should be a requirement for affordable housing. I would be interested to know your thoughts about it and b, understand if that's in any way a component of the study. So it's --
11:13 AMIt's task number 10 on page 3.
Great. I had asked about it beforehand and didn't get that information. So this is new information.
Yeah, and really the framework of development and really about how we need to drive land use to be -- whether it's density nodes around transit, and then the types of land use that would fit in that. So this won't get into actual zoning and permitting, per se, of an individual lot or parcel, but it's thematic about the type of development that is conducive to a lot of transit utilization and then how transit development goes hand in hand with land use. So yes, affordable housing is a framework that would fit into that.
11:14 AMWhat is task number 10?
Task number 10, and this is part of the backup, affordable housing strategies. This task will create an affordable housing vision and guide housing development to meet the corridor and station area goals. The task will identify locations for implementing affordable housing strategies for a variety of housing options within the city of austin station areas based on the austin strategic housing blueprint, the city of manor station area May use best practices for austin or other cities. Recommendations will consider the title 6 guidance as well as best practices for affordable housing within tods. That's not the only thing that will be looked at in this study. Really this goes back to the idea of tilling the soil for what we expect to come in the future. We are well aware that we don't yet have the density and the ridership to make this investment today, but through this kind of study and tilling the soil and preparing it, we speed the day when we will be able to make this leap. So i'm really excited about it. It goes to existing conditions, defining goals and performance metrics, public involvement, first and last mile connection, development potential analysis, so that, you know, from an economic development standpoint we can be the point of the spear, as it were. Land use assembly analysis, one of the best things travis county can provide to cap metro is our access to dirt. T. O. D. Priority tool update, job access, transportation equity analysis, which is perhaps a bigger component in affordability in this area than the actual affordable homes. That's important too, but actually the access to the transportation equity aspect May be an even more powerful tool. Parking utilization plan. There is a lot of work going on between cap metro and the ctrma with regard to parking infrastructure outside the cap metro service area to facilitate this kind of travel demand management. Affordable housing, as we mentioned. Economic and community development plan. The list goes on. I won't go through all of it because I think there are 22 separate deliverables under the study.
11:16 AMGreat. i'm glad to hear that. And I will just put in a plug for parking. It's one of the major complaints that I hear from people up and down the red line. There's not enough places for them to park to use the rail line. And I realize there's a big debate about how much money and infrastructure you create for automobiles, but not everybody can have their friend or spouse or partner drive them to the transit stop and drop them off. So I think we just have to look at a practical need for greater parking opportunities at the transit stops.
11:17 AMI know Commissioner Daugherty wants to say something. [laughter] I hear walter laughing in the audience in anticipation.
Well, you did ask me to be very polite today when randy came and the mayor. All due respect, I mean, you know, an elected official and randy has always been very gracious to hear me out. Come to my office a couple times so I really appreciate that. I will never be supportive of something like this. The cost benefit to this is just laughable. The red line, and it's not, you know, randy wasn't here when the red line was done, but the red line, in my opinion, is a miserable failure. You know, the cost that it took to build it, the cost that it takes to operate it, the number of people that use it, and the red line, you know, quite frankly, has the density up and down it that it should have the ridership. I think the last time I heard -- what is the projected cost at this stage if you were to just throw a price out there for what it would cost to get the green line up and going is this.
11:19 AMWell, part of this will refine our engineering numbers, but i've seen forecasts of probably 300, 350 million, give or take. Part of that is developers, how often you would run trains and things of that nature. I think it's fair to say probably 300 million plus.
And the projected ridership?
Again, that's what this study is really going to focus mostly on is right now it's clear that the ridership levels for the fta process would not be there, but as Commissioner Travillion said there's significant amount of development going on. The red line, the volume of development happening around the red line corridor is growing by the day. Every day we get another announcement in the media saying x person did a new tower of some sort. This study will really figure out the length between land use and transportation to say what development will have to happen to get to that red ridership level to make this a viable transportation program.
11:20 AMWell, I don't know what we have to do to make people understand that putting money in rail is throwing it down a really deep hole with very little chance of getting any sort of justifiable outcome. That's what the numbers are. I mean I wish they weren't that. I wish that there were just thousands and thousands of people that take it, but% that is not the case. And with the precious few dollars that we have, you know, to go into mobility and transportation, there are just other ways to spend that dollar that the yield on it is much greater, much greater than rail. I mean, no one can really refute that. A few places in the northeast of the united states, I mean where you come from, randy, absolutely. I mean you've got a lot of folks that get on the train and because that's how you get from point a to point b. That's not -- in the foreseeable future that is nothing that we could ever expect to witness. And I mean, you know, I just think that you've got to use the red line as some sort of a benchmark, a barometer. And -- and it doesn't get anywhere near, I mean what was the red line this last year? 18 million to operate it?
11:21 AMI can get that exact --
11:22 AMAround 18 million to operate it and we generated a million dollars out of the fare box? Roughly?
Public transportation does not make a profit.
Well, i'm not looking to make a profit, but I am looking for something to be something other than just insulting.
What do roads cost?
I doesn't make any difference. You got 98% of the people that use the roads and get in their car.
Because that's the main option that they have.
It's not the only option they have.
The main option.
I mean people have options in this community just like we do.
Commissioner Daugherty -- we will -- I know you will never be in favor of this project, but I think that there is a demonstrable majority on the commissioners court desireous of analyzing it and tilling the soil for a future day where rail and rapid bus is much more robustly embraced by our community. And that day is approaching quickly. We've seen tremendous successes on the rapid bus line on mopac with the dedicated lane down the highway. Also the red line is full at peak time. It only has so much capacity because we chose to do it on the cheap. We chose to do it on a single line with a limited number of cars. And for what we built, it's at capacity. And truly transportation infrastructure is something that is appropriately subsidized by the government in order for us to level up the playing field and create very real mobility for our community.
11:23 AMRapid bus, you've heard me say those are the things that -- those are the things that you look at. Rapid bus.
11:24 AMYou guys are posted to receive a presentation. You're really going into deliberation so you all neat to limit --
I take exception to that. when you open a subject matter like this, you ought to be able to discuss it, you ought to be able to discuss it openly. That's what these things are meant to do. And in all due respect, I mean, i've been at this game for 20 years now, and it's really -- i've never found anybody that could, you know, take exception to what I say if you predicate it on what are the numbers. And the numbers are not there. They've never been there. And yet we still go down this trail of considering something that just absolutely makes no sense.
And I agree with you that deliberation of policy in a presentation that is squarely inside that policy,% I embrace that. And in that regard you called out the likely price tag of the green line at the point at which it will be a viable project in current dollars would be somewhere around the 300, 350 million dollar mark. The -- the intersection of 71 and 290 at the y at oak hill is more than 500 million.
11:25 AMOne intersection.
And that will not be revenue generating either.
And it will be used by tens of thousands of people. That's the point. I mean, you've got to apply what the likely use is compared to, I mean in the modes of travel. Yes, roads are expensive. Intersections are expensive. But all five of us use the roads most of the time. And every one of us, every one of us -- maybe Commissioner Travillion might not because pflugerville voted back out of capital metro. I mean they were in it and voted out. Why did they vote out because they could take their penny and use their penny in other ways. But the point is is that we don't use it and yet we will sit and we will watch -- I mean because this is somewhat promotion of this. I know it's a study, but it goes farther than that. You give it life, and I mean I don't know how many of these meetings i've been to. Unhad dreads. And what you have is you have -- hundreds. What you have is you have advocates. You don't have the average everyday person says i'm going to go down there and just say why I won't use it.
11:26 AMI absolutely confess that through this study I am trying to build anticipation of a day that includes a green line. I completely -- I confuse fess. You are absolutely right. That's totally what's happening here.
11:27 AMIf I could, I understand what you're saying and I understand your point of view. But I think if you talk to the average pflugerville person today, they would argue that removing itself from capital metro was a mistake. And I think that when you look across our county, the area that is really left to develop is right up there at 290 corridor and right at that 130 corridor. In fact, we have heard of and we're going to see within a relatively short period of time, you know, more than a billion dollars of development out there. And we think that a lot of the development is going to be residential. And, you know, when you look at what the city of austin is trying to do with its chapter 380 policies, they are trying to look at areas that are under developed and invest in them. And if they are going to use incentives, they will use them in areas like that. You know, we think that this is a corridor that should be developed for a number of reasons including the fact that historically it hasn't been given parity. You don't have equity there. And it's going to be a part of a multimodal system to address the needs of a large community that is growing consistently.
11:28 AMI very much look forward to this study and understanding also the issue around 380 agreements and infrastructure investment. I would prefer to do infrastructure investment with our property -- our very limited property tax dollars than to do property tax avoidance through 380 agreement. I would rather go ahead and capture that tax value and invest it in public infrastructure like a green line rather than preserve even -- preferential for a tax district. What a study results reveal on that and that's one of the things the study will be contemplating.
11:29 AMWe appreciate the support. This is no county money. This is the federal transit administration planning process and we'll be very forward looking -- looking forward to your staff when we have more information and you can have a more rebust conversation from them.
It's great to see you, mayor. It's always a pleasure to have you here. And we'll keep working on this stuff.
Absolutely. thank you so much.
11:30 AMAnd congratulations on getting the federal funds to do it.

11:30 AMWe have a couple of really wonderful proclamations today. The first being agenda item number 4, which is approve a proclamation recognizing February 2019 as black history month in travis county. Commissioner Travillion, would you read the proclamation?
I have water so I can make it through.
Okay. that's wonderful. Here we go.
Each February tract and the austin independent school district proudly recognize black history month by proclaiming african-american history is also american history.