Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

As Austin Nears Urban Rail Decision, Proof Traffic's Always Been Awful

Yes, this qualified as problem traffic on I-35 back in the 1960s.

Austin is inching its way towards the creation of a possible new rail line.

Later today, Project Connect, a group of regional transportation officials including the City of Austin and Capital Metro, is widely expected to unveil a proposed route for urban rail.

The announcement is a further refinement of preliminary findings tapping the East Riverside and Highland Mall regions as prime corridors for investment – a finding many Austin transit advocates found fault with. Once set for the ballot by the Austin City Council, citizens will vote on whether to approve rail funding in an election this November. 

Although the region is in dire need of a world-class transportation system, few agree on the cost and the routes. Listen to the audio above for more on the hard-fought road to Project Connect's recommendation.

But whether you're an Austin old timer or a new transplant there’s one thing everyone can agree on: traffic is horrible. And apparently, its been that way for decades.

"I grew up here," Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell tells KUT News. "I remember my dad complaining about it."

Need further proof? 

Check out this episode of "Progress Report Austin," a 1960s public affairs TV show preserved by the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. In this episode, "Progress Report Austin will investigate the traffic problem and its increasing impact on Austin."

Austin's relentless traffic problem is still unsolved 50 years after that broadcast.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
Related Content