Webinar: Transportation at the Ballot Box: Austin’s Project Connect

Webinar: Transportation at the Ballot Box: Austin’s Project Connect

October 22, 2020 2:00 pm to 2:45 pm ET

The Eno Center for Transportation does not endorse or oppose specific ballot measures. The information is provided for research and informational purposes only.


On November 3, in addition to the Presidential race and slew of gubernatorial, state legislative, and mayoral elections, voters across the country will weigh in on dozens of transportation-related ballot measures. Among the major transportation measures on the ballot this year is Proposition A in Austin, a 8.75 cent property tax measure. If passed, Prop A will help fund Project Connect, a $7 billion expansion of the city’s transit system including two new light rail lines, a Downtown Transit Tunnel, expanded bus service, and a new commuter rail line.

In this webinar, David Couch will provide an overview of the overall System Plan and share details about the initial investments in Project Connect. John-Michael Cortez will discuss the history of Prop A leading up to its approval by the Austin City Council earlier this summer, and cover some of the measure’s additional elements, including a $300 million anti-displacement fund.

Speakers:
John-Michael Cortez, Special Assistant to the Mayor Adler of Austin, Texas
David W. Couch Sr., Program Officer for Project Connect, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Austin
Romic Aevaz, Policy Analyst, Eno Center for Transportation


John-Michael Cortez serves as Special Assistant to the Mayor of Austin, Texas, the nation’s fastest growing large metro area and Live Music Capital of the World. John-Michael advises Mayor Adler on Austin’s most challenging issues, including regional and urban planning, transportation, workforce development, affordable housing, and where to find the city’s best breakfast tacos and BBQ. He is passionate about equitable policy-making and planning, but even more passionate about building and sustaining the political will to actually see those policies and plans come to fruition.

In his time working with Mayor Adler, John-Michael facilitated the development of Austin’s largest ever multi-modal transportation bond program, which voters overwhelmingly approved and is now transforming how Austinites move around the city. He also advised the Mayor on the development of the city’s first ever strategic housing plan, strategic mobility plan, and workforce master plan, which will make Austin more equitable and affordable for thousands of households. John-Michael’s current focus is the re-write of Austin’s 35-year old land development code and preparing the Austin community to finally invest in a desperately needed regional high-capacity transit system.


Accomplished executive with over thirty year’s management experience in transit. Track record of establishing, managing, and completing projects on schedule and within budget utilizing design-bid-build, design-build and guaranteed maximum price contract formats with a combination of financing methodologies. Projects include heavy rail, light rail and commuter rail from the environmental phase through design, construction, and placing into revenue service. Currently the Program Officer for Project Connect in the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Austin.

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