AURA Endorses Candidates in Austin Mayoral and City Council Elections

For Immediate Release AURA Endorses Candidates in Austin Mayoral and City Council Elections October 27, 2014Austin, Texas AURA is a relatively new organization on the Austin civic scene, but it is already having a strong impact representing popular support for our vision of a welcoming city with abundant housing and alternative transportation options. With Austin moving its municipal elections to November and instituting a geographically representative City Council, next Tuesday offers a major opportunity to elect leaders that can help continue to make that vision a reality. The membership of AURA offers these endorsements in Austin’s City Council elections: Continue reading

Many progressive frontrunners for City Council oppose Prop 1

This is part of a two-part series on the supposed ideological aspects of the city of Austin bond proposition (“Prop 1”). Today’s topic is opposition to Prop 1 among liberal candidates for City Council. The Let’s Go Austin PAC has tried to convince liberal and progressive Austin voters that the city roads-and-rail bond proposition (often referred to as “Prop 1”) is an ideological or partisan question. “Know whose side you are on,” the PAC says in a series of recent mailers that try to portray opposition to Prop 1 as a conservative cause. That message has failed to resonate with a vital audience: the leading liberal and progressive candidates for Austin City Council, a majority of whom are openly opposed to Prop 1. Below are listed the positions taken on Proposition 1 held by those candidates for City Council endorsed by at least one of four solidly liberal publications or organizations: the Austin Chronicle (AC), Burnt Orange Report(BOR), Workers’ Defense Action Fund (WDF), and Austin Environmental Democrats (AED). Continue reading

Is the Prop 1 PAC running a campaign for Republican Rail?

This is the first post in a two-part series on the supposed partisan or ideological aspects of the city of Austin bond proposition (“Prop 1”). Today’s topic is funding sources behind the Let’s Go Austin PAC. The second post will cover the widespread opposition to Prop 1 among progressive candidates for City Council. If you’re a registered voter in Austin, you’ve probably received a mailer from the Let’s Go Austin (LGA) PAC telling you to vote for the city’s $1 billion roads-and-rail bond proposition, informally known as Prop 1. As our readers probably know, we oppose Prop 1, and have spent the past two years showing why this rail plan is worse than nothing. Unfortunately, the LGA PAC has favored ideological attacks over a campaign on the merits of the plan. Therefore, we think it is now relevant to examine the funding sources behind the LGA PAC and its expensive campaign. As it turns out, a look at the relevant filings reveals that the LGA PAC is largely funded by deep-pocketed Republican donors. Continue reading

AURA urban rail working group releases System Crash Report

AURA’s urban rail working group has completed an analysis of the impact that the Austin roads-and-rail bond proposition would have on the city’s transit system. Their report, titled “System Crash: The High Costs of Low Ridership Rail,” estimates that the urban rail plan contained in city Proposition 1 would reduce Capital Metro’s system-wide transit ridership by 28 to 30 million boardings over the rail line’s first decade of operation. This is roughly equal to a  permanent annual cut of 10 percent of present-day MetroBus service.

Video from AURA candidate forums for Districts 4 and 9

Videos of the second and third of our three Austin city council candidate forums are now available on our YouTube channel. You can also watch them below. Continue reading

AURA’s Transit-Oriented Austin Pledge Press Conference

Good morning. My name is Niran Babalola, and I’m a member of AURA, a grassroots organization that fights for abundant housing and abundant transit for all Austinites. Continue reading

Red Line Subsidy Increase a Harbinger of Proposition 1 Problems

The recently approved CapMetro budget for fiscal year 2015 included an increase in operating subsidy for a single boarding on the MetroRail RedLine, placing it above $20.  In contrast, the average bus per-boarding subsidy is $4, but is closer to $1 on the most productive bus routes. “The operating losses we see for the Red Line are the same type of losses that will play out with Proposition 1 rail, but on a much larger scale,” said AURA member Kevin Miller. “The proposed route goes through low-density areas, but it has high fixed costs. The rail will siphon money away from bus service, reducing ridership and likely leading to cuts in bus service. Let’s not condemn ourselves to repeating another unforced error.” Miller is the author and maintainer of WorseThanNothing.org, a website that details the pro-transit argument against the road-and-rail package on this November’s ballot. Continue reading

Council Candidates Pledge to Improve Austin’s Transit System

AURA and several City Council candidates are holding a press conference on Wednesday, October 15 at 9:30 am in front of City Hall to announce that the candidates have taken a pledge to push for real solutions to our transportation problem. Continue reading

Let’s Go Austin PAC Spending Thousands to Weaken Our Transit System

AURA—an all-volunteer, member-driven grassroots organization—responded to the fundraising report for the pro-Proposition 1 PAC ‘Let’s Go Austin’. “I’m not surprised they think it’s a good idea to spend half a million dollars on mailers that are going straight to the trash can. After all, they are supporting an inefficient plan that will waste limited transportation dollars and reduce system ridership”, said Brad Absalom, chair of AURA’s transit working group. Continue reading

Proposition 1 PAC’s New Ad Is Rife With Deception

AURA is opposed to Proposition 1, the roads-and-rail bond proposal set to go before Austin voters on November 4. But that’s about all that is correct in a full-page advertisement in this week’s Austin Chronicle paid for by the new political action committee Let’s Go Austin. Continue reading