August 24, 2011
Senator Kirk Watson on Wednesday launched a far-reaching effort to analyze Central Texas’ most congested roadways – and find ways to fix them.
Senator Watson announced he will lead a collaboration with regional transportation leaders and the Texas Transportation Institute to conduct one of the most overarching and comprehensive studies in memory of some of the region’s most unyielding traffic chokepoints. It will focus on:
“This project will lay a foundation of basic infrastructure that can help propel Central Texans’ economy and quality of life for a generation,” Senator Watson said. “It will play an important role in the development of a truly comprehensive transportation system that will give our commuters room to move, our economy space to grow, and our people time to spend with their friends and family – not to sit in traffic.”
The effort will cost $31 million, which represents Central Texas’ share of a $300 million budget rider approved this year by the Texas Legislature. The rider dedicates some bond funds authorized by Texas voters in 2007 to mobility studies addressing the 50 most congested road segments in the state. Senator Watson’s group will focus on the only Central Texas projects on the list.
Senator Watson, who serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee, said he wants to get a head start on this planning process and create a collaboration that will ensure its success. He will create a group to work with the Texas Transportation Institute that includes representatives of the Texas Department of Transportation, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the City of Austin, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Capital Metro, the Downtown Austin Alliance and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, as well as other advocates and experts.
“This work, when it’s completed, will provide powerful evidence to those in control of the Capitol that they need to create this essential infrastructure – both for the people who are here, and the generation that’s coming,” Senator Watson said.