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AUSTIN, Texas -- More than a dozen environmental groups gathered online today to show their support for Project Connect, and the associated ballot measure, Proposition A.
The Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG), which organized the event, released research detailing the climate benefits of the proposed public transit investment. The two new urban light rail lines, the improvements to express bus lines, new park and rides, and a downtown tunnel, would all lead to a carbon reduction equivalent to planting more than 50,000 acres of forest, roughly a fourth of the city.
“For the first time in Austin, climate change is officially on the ballot,” said Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG Director. “Voters have the opportunity to invest in a generational shift in how we get around town, giving us far more clean, green mobility options. Along with the other environmental leaders here today, TexPIRG is proud to endorse Proposition A.”
Capital Metro, the Austin area transit agency, has committed to electrifying its entire bus fleet, and Proposition A is expected to help make that transition. The new light rail lines would be all electric as well.
“Transportation is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants in our city, contributing to the climate crisis and air-related public health impacts like asthma and lung cancer, so investing in this all-electric system of transportation is a must,” Scoggin continued. “Implementing Project Connect would help clean our air as much as planting trees every year from Lady Bird Lake to Highway 183 would.”
Along with the press conference, TexPIRG released a fact sheet that details the environmental benefits of Project Connect, the vision map on which Prop A is based. Some of their findings:
Project Connect will avert 109 million vehicle miles traveled per year
The project would keep an estimated 43,000 tons of CO2 out of Austin’s air each and every year, the equivalent of annually planting 50,000 acres of trees, or roughly one fourth of the city
Nitrogen oxide, a dangerous air pollutant tied to asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory problems, would be reduced by 30 tons per year
“There is a clear choice in November,” Scoggin concluded, “Austinites can come together and vote to become the climate-friendly city we know we want to be. Our car-dependent transportation system is the largest front on our fight against climate change, and the time has come to do something about it.”
The groups encouraged voters to look at their website for more details: https://texpirg.org/feature/txp/vote-yes-prop
Political Ad by the Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG).
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