Tell City Council You Support Equitable Transit-Oriented Development

On March 9, City Council will consider approving a plan to implement equitable transit-oriented development (ETOD) around current and planned transit stops in Austin. ETOD aims to give Austinites of all income levels more access to housing, jobs, transit, and other amenities, and a quality ETOD implementation is crucial to the success of public transit in Austin.

How you can help

We need to send the message to City Hall that Austinites strongly support ETOD and want to see ETOD done right. You can help by contacting City Council Members via email or phone, and you can speak at the City Council meeting on March 9 in-person or by calling in.

Contacting City Council

You can get a lot of impact by directly reaching out to your own City Council member (look up your Council District).

3José Velá
4José “Chito”
9Zohaib “Zo”

You can also send an email to all of City Council at once using this form.

Speaking at the Council Meeting

The City Council will meet on March 9th in Austin City Hall (301 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701) at 10:00 AM, which is when we’ll be making comments. Before discussing agenda items, Council will take comments from the public.

You can sign up to speak using this form:

  1. Select “March 9 – Regular Council Meeting”
  2. Respond “No” to “Are you a zoning applicant or zoning applicant’s representative?”
  3. Under “Regular Meeting Agenda Item Number” select “016”
  4. Stance: For
  5. Respond “Yes” to “Do you wish to speak?”
  6. Select “in-person” or “remote” (which is via phone call)
  7. Fill in your name and contact info
  8. Filling in the topic is optional, but you can mention that you are in favor of ETOD
  9. Submit form

Online registration closes at 12 PM the day before the meeting, and you can only register for remote speaking using online registration. In-person speakers can register at City Hall using the kiosks up until 9:15 AM on the day of the meeting.

Talking Points and Tips

  • Contacting or speaking to City Council doesn’t require you to be an expert or make polished comments, just share your thoughts, preferably in your own words
  • Mention that you support agenda item 16 to approve the ETOD plan
  • Austin voters overwhelmingly approved Project Connect, which included ETOD
  • The success of Project Connect, and transit in general, depends on good ETOD
  • We need to zone for significantly more density/height and more mixed-use development within walking and biking distance of transit
  • ETOD zones should have no minimum parking requirements
  • Hitting our climate and affordability goals depends on successful transit and ETOD

You can read the full Council meeting agenda and find more details about the ETOD policy plan resolution (item 16) here.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at

Project Connect Media Release (2020-07-20)

AURA members identify priorities for November transportation

AURA members overwhelmingly approved a set of policy preferences aimed at shaping Austin City Council’s crafting of a new transportation ballot measure for this November’s election. The specific policy planks approved by AURA members are:

  1. AURA supports the 11 cent property tax increase to pay to fund the full Project Connect plan.
  2. AURA urges City Council to require Republic Square to North Lamar Transit Center as a segment of the initial light rail project.
  3. AURA urges City Council and CapMetro to expand light rail service to Tech Ridge as soon as possible, including in the initial rail project if it is legally and financially feasible.
  4. AURA supports a historic investment in improving bus service that matches the scale of what is proposed by the Project Connect System Vision.
  5. AURA supports the construction of the “downtown tunnel” featured in the Project Connect System Vision.
  6. AURA urges City Council place a $750 million active transportation and Vision Zero bond on the November ballot.
  7. AURA urges City Council to develop a comprehensive anti-residential displacement policy approach for areas impacted by transit investment; the policy may include innovative land use, PIDs, TIFs, and new TOD below-market-housing funds.
  8. AURA supports the exclusion of new funds for roadway expansion in the package.
  9. AURA urges City Council to provide a new operations and maintenance funding stream proportional to the needs of the November package’s proposed transit capital investments.
  10. AURA urges City Council, the Austin Transportation Department and CapMetro to accelerate shovel-ready improvements in the project sequencing.

“We have an opportunity to build the infrastructure that will profoundly change how we move around our city and to do it in a way that will benefit all of us for generations to come,” said Cesar Acosta, AURA Board President. “AURA will continue to fight for transportation investments that reflect our mission of creating an Austin for Everyone. We encourage all that support our policy vision to share our positions publicly, to reach out to the Mayor and Council, and to engage our Board to find ways to work together,” concluded Acosta.

AURA is a grassroots, all-volunteer organization that advocates for an Austin that is inclusive, open to change, and welcoming to everyone.

Cesar Acosta, AURA Board President

Project Connect Media Release (2020-03-09)

Press Statement
For Immediate Release

AURA is enthusiastic about Project Connect’s recommended Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). The proposed light rail lines will run through dense neighborhoods — where lots of people live — and run to downtown, the Capitol, and UT — where lots of people want to go.  

In 2014, AURA argued for rail on the city’s highest ridership transit corridor, Guadalupe-Lamar, and opposed the Proposition 1 bond that failed to include this rail line. We built our reputation by demanding good rail for Austin, not just any rail. The 2020 LPA promises to deliver the rail system Austin deserves. Today, Capital Metro and city officials proposed a system plan, the “spine” of which is the Orange Line, serving Guadalupe-Lamar-South Congress, a carbon-free, pollution-free, congestion-free “highway” for transit that will carry tens of thousands of people daily on the Guadalupe-Lamar corridor. AURA Member and Project Connect Ambassador Network member Susan Somers says: “Capital Metro’s plan is big and bold. It will capture the imagination of Austinites and, when realized, give us a new freedom of access to our city, and an alternative to sitting in traffic.”

Recently, we’ve seen news about a proposal for a $7.5 billion expansion of 8 miles of I-35. Further highway expansion is the wrong direction for our city. Light rail running in dedicated transit ways uses less land to carry as many or more people. Light rail pollutes less and emits less carbon than cars on highways. Transit riders walk more and interact with their fellow Austinites more. The proposed Project Connect LPA is the right direction for getting around Austin. 

There are elements of the plan that deserve scrutiny. Given scarce dollars for transit operations, relatively low ridership lines like the Green Line should not be a high priority for construction. 

We call on City Council to remember that public transit is a system. Trains may make the headlines, but we need a complete network to ensure access for all. Project Connect calls for a historic expansion of our MetroRapid bus lines, serving all parts of the city. We need to ensure that all buses have a fast connection to the train. AURA Transportation Working Group Chair Mike Nahas says, “We would like to see shade and trees at stations, to cool those standing in the summer heat. We encourage CapMetro to continue making stations convenient for bike and scooter riders. Lastly, Austinites must be able to walk to transit and that means building sidewalks, not just near train stations but for the whole transit system.”

AURA is a grassroots, all-volunteer organization that advocates for an Austin that is inclusive, open to change, and welcoming to everyone.


  • Susan Somers, AURA Transportation Working Group member,