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Williamson, Hays win support for CAMPO stimulus funds

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 by Kimberly Reeves

Those who might have expected fireworks at the June CAMPO Transportation Policy Board meeting would have been sorely disappointed on Monday night.

Environmentalists showed up in full force to discuss the last segment of State Highway 45 – the segment over the sensitive Barton Springs-Edwards Aquifer zone, –but the board took no action on the most controversial segment of SH 45.

In either July or September – it’s still up for guess – the board will consider a route that, as Executive Director Joe Cantalupo suggested, is part of a TxDOT minute order. The four options presented on Monday night included: four lanes tolled or non-tolled, plus four lanes tolled as part of the overall system financing of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, plus two lanes non-tolled.

The road segment will exist in some form, be it either a product of the Texas Department of Transportation or Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.

The total pool of stimulus package money for the CAMPO region is $29 million. Members of the board shifted more effort toward Williamson County and Hays County, cutting some effort proposed to Travis County projects.

“The board came together to support those projects that were in the best interest of the region,” Cantalupo said. “These projects are very solid.”

Of the projects approved on Monday night, Williamson County got $7 million for FM 1431 through Cedar Park and Williamson County, plus a $2 million transit facility.  Hays County got Cement Plant Road, at a cost of $7.2 million, plus the $1.7 million toward long-needed turn lanes for Ranch Road 12. In addition, the board approved a suggested $60,000 toward the striping of Spring Branch Road in Buda

In Travis County, funded projects included the City of Austin’s 20 high-priority traffic signals, plus $1.5 million in asphalt overlay. Other projects included about $700,000 in Travis County for various asphalt overlays, plus requested sidewalks around the US 290/SH 71 intersection. The approved requests included $250,000 toward sidewalks on Brodie Lane, requested by Sunset Valley, which would be about half of the total requested by the city.

Additional outlying projects in Travis County included safety improvements along SH 71, plus sidewalks in the City of Manor; improvements at the intersection of SH 71 at Serene Hills in the City of Lakeway; and the Walk for a Day Trail for the Hill Country Conservancy.

CAMPO’s board also agreed to support the roadside assistance program through the region, but at a cost of $1.4 million. That’s a cut from the proposed $2 million.

Requests from the CAMPO board will go to the Federal Highway Administration for approval.

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