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CARTS breaks ground on Elgin bus station

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    CARTS general manager David Marsh, Elgin city manager Thomas Mattis, Elgin Mayor Chris Cannon, Elgin streets superintendent Joe Parten, Precinct 4 Commissioner Donna Snowden, County Judge Paul Pape, Elgin community services director Amy Miller, station architect Tom Hatch. Photo by Julianne Hodges
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A new bus station is on its way to downtown Elgin after a groundbreaking ceremony last week.

Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) is a regional transportation district serving the non-urbanized areas of Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Travis and Williamson counties. Transit services that will originate from the future Elgin CARTS station include the CARTS interurban bus route and the CapMetro 990 route to downtown Austin, as well as full-service Greyhound services. The station is also located on CapMetro’s planned Green Line rail network extension. The station will also have restrooms that will remain open to the public during city events downtown. The station is expected to be completed after 10 or 12 months of construction. 

This all began when Elgin received a grant for sustainable city planning, according to CARTS general manager David Marsh. As a result, the city put together a plan for the 10 acres between Depot Street and Central Avenue to create a master-planned park to be named Central Park. At the time, CARTS had stations in Smithville and Bastrop, but not in Elgin, so they proposed to put a CARTS station within that ten acres. Next, a Texas Department of Transportation grant allowed CARTS and the City of Elgin to plan for the station over the next five years. Finally, CARTS has received the grants to build the station itself and has bid the project out to a contractor. The City of Elgin provided the property to CARTS at no cost for a 40-year lease.

CARTS got approval from Elgin’s historical commission on the design for the station, and they utilized the local brick company Butler Brick for the outside of the building.

“We took all our design cues from historical photos we had, particularly from the old railroad station that's now a museum, and we added a modern concept to it,” Marsh said.

CARTS plans to honor late Precinct 4 Commissioner Gary “Bubba” Snowden, who served on the CARTS board of directors, by dedicating the station in his memory.

“The two things that he was most passionate about as commissioner were the animal shelter and working with CARTS,” said Donna Snowden, current Precinct 4 commissioner and Bubba Snowden’s wife. “He really enjoyed working with the board and seeing the good things that were coming. … He took being on the CARTS board very seriously and worked hard to be a good board member.”