Project Connect unveils 5 scaled-back options for light rail project connect discussion "Community members and Project Connect officials met March 21 to discuss the five possible plans for phase one of the light rail system in Austin.  The scaled-back plans give the community one option with a connection to the airport or another underground tunnel downtown, but no plan includes both. All of the plans are scaled back with changes to route length, stops and planned lake crossings." (Amanda Cutshall, Community Impact)

Austin tried and failed to rewrite its land code. Republican lawmakers might do it for them. "Republican legislators are now wading into Austin’s land code debate. Lawmakers have filed several bills that, if passed, could greatly impact what kind of housing gets built in the city." (Audrey 

Texas Senate approves $16.5B in property tax relief "A $16.5 billion property tax relief package passed through the Texas Senate on March 22 with unanimous support.The package aims to save Texans money on their property tax bills by increasing the state homestead exemption, cutting school district property tax rates and limiting how much businesses can be taxed for their personal property. " (Hannah Norton, Community Impact)

Jeers — and a few cheers — greet Elon Musk's reps at public hearing "Hundreds of people flocked to a hotel east of Austin on March 21 for a chance to finally air their grievances regarding Elon Musk's expanding business empire in Bastrop County. More specifically, they grilled representatives from two of Musk's companies, The Boring Co. and SpaceX, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as the businesses seek a permit that would allow them to discharge treated wastewater into the Colorado River, an important part of Bastrop County's landscape and agricultural economy." (Justin Sayers, Austin Business Journal)

How realistic is the idea to bury Austin’s power lines? Council wants to know. "At its regular meeting Thursday, City Council approved a pair of items aimed at exploring the possibilities for burying existing utility power lines as well as ones to be constructed in new capital projects such as Project Connect. The idea surfaced after the devastating February winter ice storm that left thousands of Austinites without power for days. Austin Energy attributed the outages to an unprecedented amount of ice that accumulated on lines and downed trees and utility poles." (Nina Hernandez, Austin Monitor)

Public patio at Austin's airport turned into private terrace for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders "Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has repurposed a public patio on the east side of the Barbara Jordan Terminal into a private space for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders only. The two-year deal with Chase will bring the airport $3.8 million. The 4,000 square-foot terrace has been accessible to the public since it opened during the airport’s nine-gate expansion in 2019." (Chloe Young, KUT-90.5)

LoneStar: $90M isn't enough to walk away from South Terminal "The federal lawsuit filed by the operator of the South Terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport against the city of Austin is scheduled to be heard in court next year. A judge with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas on March 6 approved the request for a jury trial from South Terminal operator LoneStar Airport Holdings LLC, according to court records. U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman set a court date of May 13, 2024." (Mike Christen, Austin Business Journal)