Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Federal environmental clearance for 281 Toll Road Project project is being pulled."

US 281 Toll Road Stopped Again


By Patrick Driscoll
San Antonio Express-News
Copyright 2008

For the second time in 2 1/2 years, the U.S. 281 toll project has been brought to its knees.

The Alamo Regional Mobility Authority said it was informed by the Texas Department of Transportation that federal environmental clearance for the project is being pulled.

"The project's not going to happen," said RMA spokesman Leroy Alloway.

A lawsuit filed in February, backed by environmentalists and toll road opponents, demanded a more detailed environmental study, which could take another year or two or more.

TxDOT told RMA officials that clearance was pulled after irregularities were discovered in the procurement process for a scientific services contract for the environmental study that was cleared.

Following the announcement, RMA Chairman Bill Thornton, Director Terry Brechtel and board member Jim Reed rushed to Austin to discuss the situation with Texas Transportation Commission Chairwoman Deirdre Delisi.

However, Thornton said it appeared the government action could forestall the construction of additional lanes of any kind on U.S. 281 for years to come.

"No additional capacity, be it tolled or non-tolled, will be allowed to occur within the 281 North corridor in the foreseeable future," he said.

© 2008 San Antonio

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