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CAMPO greenlights MoKan study

Friday, October 20, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Policy Board on Monday evening signed off on a plan to spend $500,000 to study the viability of the MoKan corridor, the largely unused swath of right of way that stretches from Williamson County down to East Austin.

That initiative was lumped together with an additional $1.59 million to put together a Regional Arterial Plan.

The board unanimously voted to allow Executive Director Ashby Johnson to negotiate terms with HNTB Corporation to conduct the studies.

Of the five firms that responded to a request for proposal posted by CAMPO staff in August, HNTB scored the highest, an auspicious sign given that firm’s standing as the general planning consultant for the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Its boosters frequently cite the MoKan corridor’s potential for transit opportunities, whether that’s in the form of rail or bus.

State Rep. Celia Israel, whose district includes areas in North Austin and Pflugerville along the corridor, is one of those boosters. On Monday night, she thanked the CAMPO board for greenlighting the study.

“We’ve been working on the concept of course as a region for a couple of generations,” she said. “It’s our strong desire to not lose the concept of MoKan as an opportunity to do something new and creative.”

In addition to the MoKan right of way itself, the study will also explore potential improvements for three adjacent roadways as well as connections to Hutto and Taylor.

“Having an opportunity to work on this as a larger project of connections that are going to help in what is considered the desired development zone is something that is much appreciated,” said Israel.

The Regional Arterial Plan, according to the backup documents, will be developed in conjunction with the local jurisdictions that make up CAMPO’s six-county membership. It is “anticipated to provide common goals and implementation mechanisms” for major arterial corridors to guide those cities and counties along with Capital Metro and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority for the next 25 years.

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