Two down, one less: Cap Metro passes a co-power agreement

At the November 10 meeting of Capital Metro’s board of directors, members walked out of an executive session behind closed doors to adopt the joint powers agreement. The goal of the joint agreement between the city, Capital Metro and Austin-Transit Partnership is to delineate the roles and responsibilities of each of the three governing bodies to execute the $ 7.1 billion transit expansion project dollars, Project Connect.

The city approved the deal six days earlier, on Nov. 4, while the ATP board is due to vote on the JPA on Wednesday.

“The city of Austin has already passed the JPA; we will pass it today. I anticipate that ATP will do that as well. This is a big milestone for Project Connect and I think it’s an exciting place, ”said Ann Kitchen, Capital Metro board member and city council member.

The joint commitments described by the plan include (but are not limited to):

  • recognizing that Project Connect will “truly achieve” city-wide transit goals, including the expansion of buses, commuter trains and neighborhood traffic infrastructure.
  • agree to be good stewards of Project Connect funds from taxpayers
  • establish a procedure for resolving disputes on technical matters
  • adhere to the principles of fairness and address displacement with respect to the construction of Project Connect infrastructure
  • use the resources of the respective employees to meet the budgets and schedules of the Project Connect program
  • prioritize resources to ensure inspection / clearance documents are completed on time and efficiently.
  • work together to find additional ways to increase funding for Project Connect, including federal, state and local sources.
  • engage with community members from diverse racial, income and educational backgrounds and include their feedback
  • including a mechanism to respond to community feedback and report on how it has been implemented

ATP’s roles, as defined by the agreement, include contracting with general entities and employing individuals to perform ATP administrative operations and implement the objectives of Project Connect. The additional roles of ATP outlined in the agreement are to acquire personal property, provide professional services related to Project Connect, and apply for funding grants and other money-generating mechanisms.

The roles of the city and of Capital Metro, on the other hand, are to “support ATP in the implementation of Project Connect”. They will also appoint the members of the ATP board of directors and will review and adopt amendments to the articles of incorporation.

“Implementing the Project Connect system plan will create an integrated transit system that will meet transit needs for safer, faster and more reliable transportation,” the JPA reads. “This will improve access to essential services, such as education, health care, access to food, childcare, jobs and open spaces, especially in historically underserved communities and under-represented, and… will help manage congestion, create jobs, improve the environment and better connect people in our community.

“This is really the blueprint for how we move forward and we have had a great collaboration between the city and CapMetro and now with ATP,” said Capital Metro board chairman Wade. Cooper. “I will say it is a very good document. It is not a perfect document. He does not consider all the circumstances that will arise in the future. We will therefore have to continue to work together as we move forward in this project.

The motion to adopt the APP was carried unanimously, six to zero.

Rendered courtesy of Capital Metro.

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