Samuel King | KUT

Transportation Reporter

Samuel comes to Austin from Kansas City, where he covered Missouri state politics for member station KCUR. Before that, he spent 14 years in television news in markets like Minneapolis, New York City and Tyler, Texas. Samuel has frequently covered transportation and mobility issues in cities large and small. He has won Associated Press awards for spot news coverage and investigative reporting.

A native of Queens, New York, Samuel also spent time growing up in Alabama. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University.

Ways to Connect

Capital Metro held the grand opening of its new Downtown Station on Monday.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Trains rolled into Capital Metro’s new Downtown Station on Monday morning for the first time. The $37 million project beat its expected timeline by six months and came in $3 million under budget, according to officials.

The downtown Austin skyline
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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KUT y Austin Monitor realizaron una serie de foros esta semana con los candidatos a cinco puestos en el Concejo de la Ciudad. Entre los temas que se discutieron estuvieron las posturas de los candidatos en dos medidas de votación relacionadas con el transporte.

The downtown Austin skyline
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

KUT and the Austin Monitor wrapped up a series of forums this week with the candidates for five City Council seats. Among the issues discussed were the candidates’ stances on two transportation-related ballot measures.

Pedestrians walk along Cesar Chavez.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Además de varias vacantes para el Concejo de la Ciudad, una banca en el Senado de Estados Unidos y la carrera presidencial, los votantes de Austin deben decidir si invierten miles de millones de dólares en el futuro del sistema de transporte de la región.

Pedestrians walk along Cesar Chavez.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

In addition to several City Council races, a U.S. Senate seat and the presidential race, Austin voters must decide whether to invest billions of dollars into the future of the region’s transportation system.

Austin BCycle is now called MetroBike after a new partnership between the City of Austin and Capital Metro.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The City of Austin and Capital Metro have partnered to revamp the Austin BCycle bike-share program. It’s now called MetroBike, a sign of integration into the Capital Metro transit system.

Capital Metro's MLK Jr. rail station is adjacent to Platform Apartments in East Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As the Austin City Council looks at ways to combat gentrification and promote more affordable housing ahead of a proposed transit expansion, a new mapping tool is providing a sense of where things stand now.

The tool shows 25% of the city’s 26,663 affordable housing units are within a quarter-mile of a proposed Project Connect transit stop, and 58% are within a half-mile.

A parking sign and other street signs along Guadalupe.
Julia Reihs / KUT

The way Austinites pay for street parking is changing Tuesday. The Austin Transportation Department is shifting to a "pay-by-plate" model that will manage parking sessions by price instead of time.

Capital Metro's MLK Jr. rail station is adjacent to the Platform apartment complex in East Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin voters will decide in November whether to raise property taxes to help pay for Project Connect, the transit expansion plan. Leaders promise the construction of new train and bus lines will help ease future congestion and provide much-needed jobs.

Southwest Airlines planes on the tarmac at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Airline capacity is slowly being added at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, but it's still far below normal. That means it may be awhile before the airport's finances recover to pre-pandemic levels.

A train at the Red Line station in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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El Concejo de la Ciudad de Austin aprobó el jueves poner frente a los votantes en la elección del 3 de noviembre dos preguntas relacionadas con el transporte: si quieren un nuevo impuesto a la propiedad para ayudar a pagar la expansión de vías de tránsito, y una emisión de bonos que financiaría proyectos de transporte más activos. 

A train at the Red Line station in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

The Austin City Council voted Thursday to place two transportation-related ballot measures in front of voters during the Nov. 3 election: a new property tax to help pay for transit expansion and a bond issue that would fund more active transportation projects. 

A Metrorail train is reflected in a mirror at the downtown Austin station.
Juan Figueroa for KUT

The Austin City Council and Capital Metro Board voted Friday to form a new local government corporation to oversee the funding and implementation of Project Connect, the transit expansion plan. 

The intersection of Cameron Road and the Highway 290 frontage road.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

The Austin Transportation Department has unveiled a new tool for the public to track the number of traffic crashes, injuries and deaths in the city. The Vision Zero Viewer allows people to see where the most crashes are happening and how the numbers this year compare to years past.

Cap Metro's red line metro station in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council voted Monday afternoon to move forward with plans to seek a property tax increase to help fund Project Connect, a plan to build more train and bus lines.

CAMPO hosts an open house in November looking at options for the Bergstrom Spur, an unused rail line in South Austin.
Samuel King / KUT

An unused rail line to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport could become a new hike-and-bike trail and even host a transit line in the future. The Capital Area Regional Planning Organization (CAMPO) and the City of Austin's Urban Trails Program are gathering input on what should happen with the line, known as the Bergstrom Spur.

Austin and Capital Metro unveiled a proposal on Wednesday that would fund 70% of Project Connect over 10 to 15 years.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Capital Metro Board and Austin City Council both endorsed the new $10 billion Project Connect long-term transit plan last month. But questions — made more acute by the pandemic-induced recession — remain: how much of the plan to pay for and when to do it? On Wednesday, leaders provided some initial answers.

A sign at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport displays health precautions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

One of the sectors that’s been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic is the aviation industry. Even as activity perks up a bit, passenger traffic and flights at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport are a fraction of what they were this time last year.

Courtesy of the candidates

Travis County Commissioners Court District 3 runs from Austin’s downtown core westward to the edge of the Hill Country, so the district covers a lot of ground in more ways than one.

It’s that challenging terrain, literally and metaphorically, that attracted the two Democratic candidates in the July 14 runoff: Ann Howard and Valinda Bolton.

A Capital Metro bus displays a public health message during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro launched 35 years ago Wednesday — July 1, 1985. As it marks that anniversary, the agency is facing both its biggest challenge, COVID-19, and its biggest opportunity, Project Connect. 

Capital Metro's Red Line station in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Capital Metro board unanimously approved the recommended plan for Project Connect, the regional vision for expanded transit service in the region. But hurdles remain, including coming up with a way to pay for the expansion and oversee its implementation. Voters could potentially decide on a property tax increase in November.

Some of the work in historically underserved areas has already begun, such as the Norwood Transit Center, which opened late last year in Northeast Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Capital Metro Board and Austin City Council are expected to vote Wednesday on a preferred plan for Project Connect, the proposal to expand the region’s transit system. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Policy Board approved a final list of projects that will be deferred to help pay for major improvements on I-35 in Austin, after months of debate. 

West Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has the most COVID-19-related deaths in Austin, according to nursing home data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released data Thursday on the number of reported cases of COVID-19 in nursing homes across the country. The data includes specifics on which facilities have cases — information that both Texas and Austin officials had previously refused to release, citing privacy laws.

Photos of Ahmaud Arbery and Michael Ramos are displayed during a vigil on Wednesday.
Michael Minasi / KUT

A small group of pastors and community members prayed for peace and justice during a vigil in East Austin Wednesday night. The solemn gathering was a contrast to protesters chanting around the Austin Police Department a mile away. 

The Red Line station downtown
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro is closely monitoring data to determine how and where to ramp up transit service that was cut back because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some MetroExpress commuter routes were restored earlier this week, but the bulk of Cap Metro’s bus routes remain on a Sunday schedule.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks from the State Operations Center on Feb. 27.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Mientras más negocios en Texas empiezan a reabrir, el gobernador Greg Abbott dijo que el cuidado de niños es esencial y anunció que se permitirá a las guarderías reabrir inmediatamente.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks from the State Operations Center on Feb. 27.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As more businesses begin to reopen, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said child care is essential and announced that providers would be allowed to reopen immediately.

The governor also said at a news conference Monday that bars would be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity starting Friday. Restaurants will be allowed to expand to 50% then, too, he said. These limits will not apply to outdoor patios where customers can maintain safe distances.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro unveiled plans in early March for transit expansion in Austin, with additional rail and bus lines, along with a downtown subway-like tunnel. The plan was intended to help congestion stay manageable as the region was projected to double in population over the next 25 years.

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