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Save Our Springs adds to criticism of CAMPO regional plan

Thursday, April 16, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2045 Regional Transportation Plan is intended to be a cohesive set of multimodal projects covering the six-county region over the next 25 years. Yet local elected leaders and community organizations alike continue to voice dismay at what they consider poor public engagement process, lack of transparency and questionable methods that have created the plan as it is today, days before the public comment period closes on April 20. The latest objection came Wednesday from the Save Our Springs Alliance, whose statement highlighted that the existing map is missing several of the included transportation projects, many of which are the “worst parts” of the plan that will run through the Edwards Aquifer recharge and contributing zones. Save Our Springs also noted that the $42 billion plan does not include the traffic modeling to show how the spending will contribute to existing traffic patterns, and recalls that CAMPO engineers have predicted travel time is likely to continue increasing even as the projects are completed. “Without releasing the traffic modeling to the public, and making it subject to public scrutiny, it’s impossible to know just how much more traffic congestion our $42 billion in tax dollars will buy us,” said Bill Bunch, executive director of the environmental nonprofit. “It’s rare that our public agencies admit their plans will fail, especially when they will cost tens of billions of dollars. But when critical information is withheld, you can bet it’s even worse than they admit.” Critically, the regional plan is a necessary piece to have in place in order to draw down $3.4 billion from the state for Interstate 35 as the Texas Transportation Commission prepares to vote on the project at the end of April. CAMPO is wrapping up a series of virtual open house meetings this week on the regional plan as the Transportation Policy Board prepares to vote to adopt the plan on May 4.

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