Some of What Austin Faces Next
Public Transportation: In the last 10 years, Austin has become the second-fastest-growing city in Texas. In 2021, Austin was ranked 16th in the top 25 U.S. growth cities. Our public transportation system has struggled to keep up with the rapidly increasing population. Paired with Austin’s poorly planned infrastructure, our roads, transportation systems, and departments have been spread thin. Though Austin has started investments into the new Metro Project, it has been at the cost of the defining feature of Austin: the small business community. Austin must redirect its energy and resources in order to temporarily quell issues as well as evaluate the costs and benefits of such a project.
Homelessness: Homeless issues come in many forms, the most prominent being health and safety. Despite anti-camping laws and homelessness assistance initiatives, Austin has failed to help the growing homeless population get off the streets and gain structure within their lives. Austin's shelters doesn't have enough housing space for the estimated 3,000 residents experiencing homelessness. There are proven solutions that target the immediate needs of homeless people as well as prevent more people from entering homelessness. We must invest in initiatives to help end homelessness within this city. Additionally, Austin qualifies for the American Rescue Plan Fund. The ARP allows for the one-time use of over 10 million dollars to help fight this crisis and remove the burden off of the taxpayer.
Public Safety: In 2021, the average response time to high-priority alerts was over a minute longer than the previous year, while citizens simultaneously faced the city's highest homicide rates since 2001. Specialized divisions like drug task forces no longer exist due to the thinly spread budget and officers have expressed their concerns over crime rates and response times due to extreme overtime hours. While budget cuts were made due to real issues, there are other ways to tackle these problems. Austin must re-evaluate these issues through the Police Oversight Office in order to determine what measures and funds are needed to guarantee proper police conduct, as well as increase citizens' safety.