Some road projects that were delayed to pay for I-35 expansion could get federal funds

The Capital Region Metropolitan Planning Organization is considering how to spend $ 15 million in federal grants for highway projects that have been delayed to help fund the planned expansion of I-35 through Travis County.

CAMPO’s board of directors – a 22-member body made up mostly of Austin area mayors, council members and county officials – voted last year at TxDOT’s request to postpone nearly $ 700 million in projects to help fund the $ 4.9 billion Central I-35 Capital Express project. The I-35 plan includes the addition of two high-occupancy vehicle lanes in each direction between Ben White and US 290 East.

Only certain projects are eligible for the $ 15 million, which CAMPO says it received as part of the COVID-19 emergency aid passed by Congress. However, at least $ 103 million in transportation plans could be eligible.

Some of the postponed projects – like a $ 1.4 million plan to add 275 traffic cameras in Austin –
were already paid for with other sources of funding such as local transport bonds.

Other projects eligible for federal money include:

  • $ 11 million plan to extend West Rundberg Lane to a four-lane divided carriageway between Metric Boulevard and Burnet Road
  • A $ 17.1 million project to add more lanes, improved cycling facilities and sidewalks along Lakeline Boulevard between Parmer Lane and Lyndhurst Boulevard
  • A $ 12.4 million widening of New Hope Drive to Cedar Park to four lanes between Sam Bass Road and Ronald Reagan Boulevard
  • $ 22 million plan to widen Pearce Lane to four lanes between Kellam Road and Travis / Bastrop County Line
  • A $ 25 million project that includes an RM 620 viaduct over Anderson Mill Road

Local government agencies were expected to submit applications by Friday for projects that have already received the green light but are still awaiting funding. Some even sent high-level staff to CAMPO’s board meeting on Monday to advocate for their cause.
“This is a very important project,” Capital Metro executive vice president Sharmila Mukherjee said of a $ 5.9 million plan to build a bridge so that commuter trains MetroRail can cross North Lamar Boulevard without blocking traffic. “We are just asking for a reconsideration for this already approved critical project.”

CAMPO’s board is expected to vote next month on which projects to fund.

Do you have any advice? Email Nathan Bernier at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @KUTnathan.

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