CapMetro almost doubles the costs of the orange and blue lines as part of the Connect project

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CapMetro says this increases costs for some parts of Project Connect.

The orange and blue lines were originally estimated at $2.5 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively, based on a design of around 5%. Now, the transit agency says the Orange Line will cost nearly double the original projection at $4.3 billion. Blue line costs will increase by $600 million to $1.9 billion.

CapMetro indicates that the reason for this price increase is due to several factors, including an increase in inflation, design costs and real estate values.

Initial real estate estimates for the Orange and Blue Lines were $250 million, but at 15% design there was a “significant increase in the number of parcels affected,” says CapMetro. This, combined with a 29% increase in real estate values ​​in Austin, resulted in a net real estate cost increase of approximately $940 million.

CapMetro also indicates that the annual increase in construction costs of 3.5% to 5% resulted in a potential impact of approximately $380 million.

The proposed subway tunnel is also expected to cost twice as much, rising from $2 billion to $4.1 billion. CapMetro says they’ve identified potential long-term street closures, along with FEMA flood zones and other technical details that resulted in the tunnel’s length being increased from 1.56 miles to 4.19 miles.

Changes include an extension to 3rd Street in Live Oak, along Congress South, and include a new subway station at Auditorium Shores and Congress South, increasing the overall cost of the Orange Line South Tunnel to approximately $1.4 billion dollars for this part. In addition, a new subway station at Congress and a pedestrian concourse on the Blue Line resulted in a potential increase in the overall cost of the tunnel of approximately $2.1 billion, above the $2.0 billion of origin.

CapMetro advises that the cost estimates provided at this stage of the design process are not indicative of the cost estimates that will be finalized this summer as part of the 30% design. These estimates will provide further refinement of costs associated with real estate, inflation/supply chain, program progression and reach.

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