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The Lead: Putting Together a Transportation Plan, Building Permits on Hold

Callie Hernandez for KUT News

The Austin area should see mostly sunny skies today with a high near 70. TheNational Weather Service reports rain chances as high as 40 percent move in tonight.

Lead Story: The City of Austin and area transportation agencies want the public to weigh-in on a transit plan for Central Texas.

The “Project Connect” regional plan includes urban rail, rapid transit and express lanes.

A series of open houses featuring the plan starts today—with a public meeting in Kyle. On Wednesday, there will be an open house in Austin. Then, on Thursday, it will be in Round Rock.

Building Permits on Hold: A backlog of building permits at City Hall has Austin homebuilders upset.   Kathey Comer is with the Home Builders Association. She says, as of last week, there were 475 permits waiting for action. Those are permits to build a new home or remodel an existing one.

Comber says the problems are related to staff shortages, over-regulation, and the lack of an electronic filing system.

Parks Budget Reinforced: Texas parks have been a hard hit the last few years by budget cuts, drought, and wildfire but they may be getting some relief this legislative session. 

Luke Metzger, of Environment Texas, says “now there’s an effort underway to restore that original intent and ensure that all the sales taxes on sporting goods actually go to our state parks.”

A senate subcommittee last week voted to fully fund the parks budget. One provision creates a fund to bolster local parks initiatives with matching grants for parks, playgrounds, and youth programs.

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