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Contentious Council sends $720M transportation bond package to voters

Support for mayor’s plan crumbled a bit unexpectedly at final reading

Austin voters will have a chance to vote on the city’s largest transportation bond in history this November, the Austin American-Statesman reported Thursday. According to the daily, Austin City Council voted on third reading to put Mayor Steve Adler’s $720 million package proposal on the ballot, but not with the unanimous support most council-watchers expected.

Adler’s “go big” proposal includes improvements to major city streets, suburban highway projects, and bikeway, sidewalk, and transit expansion, the Statesman reported, in an all-or-nothing package that would cost five times more than any previously approved local transportation bond and add approximately $56 a year to property taxes on a $250,000 home by the year 2020.

At a preliminary reading, the Council voted 11-0 in favor of the proposal, but that consensus fell apart at the final reading on Thursday, according to the daily, when council members argued over ballot language, tax impact, and what some felt was a rushed process—one which left Place 1 Council Member Ora Houston feeling “bullied.” The paper reported that the final vote to put the proposal on the November 8 election ballot was 7 in favor, 1 opposed, and 3 abstaining.

Divided Austin City Council puts $720 million bond on November ballot [Austin American-Statesman]