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Lone Star Rail seeks cut of Austin property tax growth

By Ben Wear - American-Statesman Staff

City of Austin property tax dollars would start flowing to the Lone Star Rail District as soon as next year, even with the proposed commuter rail line’s fate still uncertain, under a proposed agreement that has city and rail district officials far apart on the deal’s broad outlines.

City officials, in a briefing Tuesday to the Austin City Council, said that all taxes collected near the seven planned Austin stations should remain in city hands until the rail line opens. Officials also said that the 50 percent of property tax growth near stations that the district wants is too high a percentage to give the rail district, and that the deal’s proposed 40-year length (with a possible 40-year extension) is too long. Getting a deal worked out by a target date of early November, allowing council approval of a final agreement before the end of the year, might be a tall order, city Chief Financial Officer Elaine Hart told the council.

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