Construction and closures Roads: I-10 Prop 12 funds public meeting stimulus funds Texas Department of Transportation widening
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Sorry for the lack of posts lately. With my website update and the holidays and the ensuing aftermath, I’ve been a wee bit busy, not to mention just spending time with my adorable 16-month-old! But I’m ready to dive back in, so here goes…
I just got home from TxDOT’s public hearing on their long-planned improvements to I-10 West. As I mentioned earlier this week, my recollection was that the proposed changes would include adding an extra freeway lane in each direction and removing the existing outbound DeZavala exit. That indeed still forms the core of the improvements package, but there were a few other goodies.
Gas taxes Laws and policies Roads Toll roads: CDAs MPO pass-through financing planning Prop 12 funds stimulus funds TURF
During my daily review of transportation news, I came across this the-sky-is-falling press release by staunch toll-opponent Terri Hall and her TURF organization. As usual, TURF shows a continued lack of insight of what’s actually happening and peppers the article with their predictable array of tried-and-true rhetoric, fallacies, and mendacities as they denounce the large number of projects that are listed as possible toll and Comprehensive Development Agreement (CDA) projects in the new 25-year regional transportation plan. Yes, there are a substantial number of toll-option projects in the plan. However, the outright panic by TURF is premature and demonstrates their failure to see and comprehend the bigger picture and actually jeopardizes badly-needed future projects.
Toll roads: Prop 12 funds Tommy Adkisson US 281 Wurzbach Parkway
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about “the man who gets it”, that man being state Senator John Carona of Dallas, who understands our current transportation funding crisis enough to risk political suicide by suggesting an increase in the state’s gas tax to fix it (the correct solution in my not-so-humble opinion.) Today, I’m going to write about the person who has shown once again to be deserving of the title of “the man who just doesn’t get it”: Tommy Adkisson, the current chairman of the San Antonio-Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) policy board.
As you may recall, Adkisson was the official instigator of a vote in October to drop the toll option from the MPO’s plans regarding future US 281 and Loop 1604 projects. That proposal went down in flames when the MPO board voted 13-5 against it, mainly because it had no objective engineering study to support it, something even an amateur elected official would realize is essential to substantiate your case. Even the San Antonio Express-News editorial board labeled his actions “erratic and ill-considered”. I, however, was willing to let Tommy off the hook for this boondoggle since it was obvious that outspoken toll opponent Terri Hall was the real culprit pulling the strings behind the scenes and I believed he just didn’t understand what he was getting himself into. His declaration after the vote that he was done with toll road issues and wanted to move on to more substantive discussions, such as mass transit, also led me to believe that he was sincerely jaded on the whole 281 debacle.
But obviously not.
The Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) yesterday approved $130 million in Proposition 12 bond funds to complete the Wurzbach Parkway in San Antonio. The parkway project, which began in the late ’80s as a beltline to connect I-35 to I-10 across North San Antonio, has been built piecemeal over the years as funding has become available. Earlier this year, TxDOT updated the environmental studies to make the project “shovel-ready” in case federal stimulus funds became available. That didn’t materialize, but that preparation paid-off Thursday because the Legislature had mandated that the first batch of Prop 12 funds be spent by September 2011. Therefore, the TTC prioritized projects that could be started quickly. Because of that prep work the local TxDOT folks did, Wurzbach Parkway fit that criteria nicely.