Austin Stock - MetroRail
Austin has some of the worst traffic in the nation, consistently ranking in the top ten most congested cities. Thanks to Austin being one of the fastest growing cities in the country, the traffic problems are only getting worse. A number of projects have been started around the city, such as the expansion of the Mopac Expressway, in an attempt to alleviate congestion. Another such project is the MetroRail system, which after experiencing a long list of setbacks finally started accepting passengers in March of 2010.
There has been talk in Austin about building an urban rail system since the 1990s, however there was little progress until 1997 when the Texas Legislature ordered Capital Metro to hold an up or down referendum on the project. The initial plan consisted of a 52-mile system that interconnected via North-South and East-West line. Unfortunately for the project it was voted down by a mere 2,000 votes. After a lengthy trip back to the drawing board a significantly less-ambitious plan was put before the voters in 2004, where it was approved by 62% of the population.
Originally slated to open for business in 2008, the MetroRail line was plagued with cost overruns, construction issues, and a whole host of other problems. This delayed opening until 2010, nearly two decades after the initial plans were put into place. To put into perspective just how long that is for a project to get completed, the population of Austin nearly doubled in that stretch.
If you are interested in checking out the MetroRail for yourself, the line runs from the downtown convention center all the way up to the North-West of the city towards Cedar Park. If you want to see more of our photos of the MetroRail and of downtown Austin, check out our stock gallery here.