Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Unelected CAMPO board strikes again: Federal funds will be used to toll Texas 45

CAMPO adopts 25-year plan, with toll Texas 45


Austin Business Journal
Copyright 2010

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Monday passed the hotly-debated, 25-year transportation funding plan, keeping with it the proposed Texas 45 Southwest toll road.

By a vote of 17-2, with only Travis County Commissioner Karen Huber and Sunset Valley Mayor Jeff Mills dissenting, the CAMPO board adopted the plan, which has been years in the works, according to staff.

The 2035 plan is important because items not included in it are excluded from any regional transportation projects that use billions of expected federal and state money.

As the plan stands, money from toll roads left over after operations, maintenance and debt payment can only be used within one mile of the road or in zip codes where 10 percent or more of peak morning toll drivers live.

It also includes the ability to plan for SH 45, which would connect Mopac and FM 1626. After years of planning, some CAMPO board members considered deleting the road from the 2035 plan.

Travis County Commissioners voted recently to push for its removal, however the 3-1 vote appears to have had little impact.

“The bottom line is this a 25-year plan, having [SH 45] in the plan itself means it can continue on,” Assistant CAMPO Director Maureen McCoy said. “It is not saying it is immediate or has priority, just the fact that it is an acknowledged need.”

CAMPO is the regional transportation group designated to approve the use of federal transportation funds within the Austin region.

It is led CAMPO is led by a 20-member board and administrative staff. The board represents Williamson, Travis and Hays Bastrop and Caldwell counties.

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