Wednesday, October 01, 2008

TxDOT will perform an internal audit of contractor-driven 'environmental study' to push massive 281 toll road project

Million Dollar 281 Toll Project Halted by Study Controversy


Aubrey Mika Chancellor
WOAI (San Antonio, TX)
Copyright 2008

Millions of dollars, including a lot of taxpayer money, has already gone toward road projects along Northbound US-281. Now everything, including toll road construction, is on hold.

The problem has to do with the environmental study that was done for the area along US-281. The study itself is not in question, but the Texas Department of Transportation is looking into whether the people hired to conduct the study had some type of conflict of interest.

"Anything that either appears to have tainted the process or would have tainted the process, calls into question the findings themselves," said Henry Munoz, III of the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority.

The A.R.M.A. has local control over developing the 281 North project. The group now wants nothing to do with construction until the environmental study controversy is resolved.

Whether you support the idea of toll roads or not, one thing everyone can agree on is that something needs to be done about the traffic along US-281 outside Loop 1604.

"The people who travel to their homes everyday, who are looking for relief from the congestion, will not find any until this situation is resolved," explained Munoz.

The bottom line for the time being is there will be no road projects on US-281 until an internal audit by TxDOT reveals if the environmental study was compromised.

"We don't know what the future of that project might be," Munoz added.

Everyone involved in the project is in Austin, meeting with the Texas Transportation Commission. We may have a better idea of what's to come.

TxDOT officials say following the conclusion of the audit, they'll take necessary corrective actions and will work to prevent similar issues from delaying future projects.

© 2008

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