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Press Conference: OPPOSITION to Austin’s Urban Rail Plans Speaks Out

For immediate release:
Austin, TX — Leaders of three diverse groups, COST, TCTU, and Affordability Austin, announce opposition to a November urban light rail proposal.
Jim Skaggs, Roger Falk, and Bill Oakey, in that order, will each speak for about 3 minutes; all will be available for follow up questions from the media.  Opposition leaders are still awaiting details of the urban rail plan; important details have still not emerged after years of “planning”.
If the Austin City Council approves an urban rail resolution June 26th, it’s likely that within 6 weeks more urban rail details will be released from the City; these individuals will have additional comments on those future developments.
Says Jim Skaggs, Director of Austin’s Coalition On Sustainable Transportation:

“The frequent reporting of surprises and bad news regarding urban rail (increasing costs, taxes and congestion) to serve low ridership, and the fact that many key rail questions proposed by the Mayor and others are still unanswered after three years, make it irresponsible to place urban rail on this November’s ballot.”

Says Roger Falk, Transportation Analyst for Travis County Taxpayer’s Union,
Even if recent ideas like homestead exemptions to lower local taxes were implemented, the ‘relief’ could be wiped out by tax increases for the proposed Urban Rail system.  Commissioner Daugherty had the only sustainable solution for escalating property taxes: Limit spending.  Voting for every ‘want’ (affordable housing, boardwalk, library, etc.) has made Austins’ per-citizen tax burden 50% higher than San Antonio’s (adjusted for the utilities).  TCTU asks voters to reject rail in November.”
Bill Worsham, TCTU Analyst and Austin City Council District 10 Candidate, has also expressed urban rail opposition points and is available via cell phone at 512-422-0998.
Says Bill Oakey of Austin Affordability,
“The route from Highland Mall to East Riverside is not a densely populated area, and would do more to help land speculators and developers hoping to attract newcomers than current residents.  The $1 billion price tag could land you a property tax increase of $160 per year within five years on a $200,000 home.  That would come on top of a multitude of other tax increases between now and then. 
WHAT: Initial announcement of Light Rail Bond opposition
WHEN: 26th June (2014),  10:00 AM
WHERE: Austin City Hall 1st floor lobby
WHY: Austin’s Coalition On Sustainable Transporation (COST), Travis County Taxpayers Union (TCTU), and Affordability Austin, enumerate reasons to vote against possible November (2014) rail bond.
For questions or more information, contact Don Zimmerman at 512-577-8842