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Planning a new strategy between Austin and San Antonio

Thursday, November 2, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

A little more than a year after Lone Star Rail was terminated, the region’s top transportation planners met on Wednesday to discuss a new strategy for enhancing travel between Austin and San Antonio. The Texas Department of Transportation hosted the joint meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization transportation policy boards in New Braunfels. Former Hays County commissioner and current CAMPO Chair Will Conley opened the meeting by noting that both CAMPO and AAMPO have not historically engaged in much collaboration. “We’re happy to announce that we believe that officially ends today,” he said. Conley’s AAMPO counterpart, Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff, went even further and suggested that one day the super-region could be served by a single MPO. TxDOT Deputy Executive Director Marc Williams said that by 2050, the Austin-San Antonio area is expected to be larger than the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex. “We’ve got to have the transportation facilities and services and modes to adequately meet that demand,” he said. The meeting itself was not designed to produce any specific project proposals. Rather, as Williams noted, it was presented as an opportunity to open up a dialogue to diagnose the pertinent issues. TxDOT spent the summer gathering data to prepare for a new study of options along the Interstate 35 corridor. Part of that effort included going over the material put together by Lone Star Rail, the aborted passenger rail effort that both MPOs voted to scuttle last year. The two boards are scheduled to convene one more time in the spring and TxDOT plans to finalize its recommendations next summer.

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