ATCYOA: 1997 at the FTA

This page represents events that really happened.1

Titanic implications up to you. Picture courtesy of YouTube “Remember 1997”.

It’s 1997. You run Capital Metro. You raised your local sales tax from 0.75 cents to 1 full cent (the statutory maximum) a couple of years ago and you’re starting to see your savings grow. Now it’s time to discuss a major capital investment; the kind many voters say they thought they were voting for when the agency was formed many years ago.

So here we are, and again remember, this is 1997. You just took your original Red Line plan to the Federal Transit Administration.2. The FTA told you ridership projections were too low because this route wasn’t within walking distance of enough homes or destinations, and the Austin area wouldn’t support large numbers of daily transfer-riders3; so they implied heavily that they would not rate it highly and that it would be unlikely that they would agree to contribute the expected Federal share to fund the project. What do you do? Click on your choice below!4

  • I want to proceed with the 1997 plan anyways.
  • I want to regroup and come back with a better plan in a few years.

Background reading;


  1. other pages will have disclaimers indicating they represent paths not taken, or events the author considers more likely, less likely, or very unlikely 

  2. This plan was to double-track and run electric wire on the entire length of what we future-folk now also call the Red Line, except that in the future, we run diesel trains on mostly pre-existing mostly single-track 

  3. people who would transfer from a bus to the rail line or from the rail line to a shuttle-bus to get to their job downtown or at UT 

  4. I will fill in the links below if/when I write those posts, which will depend on whether there is enough interest in continuing the series