CAMPO, a group that coordinates transportation funding throughout Central Texas, initially deferred the projects to make $633 million available for the I-35 Central project. That move came in 2020 after the Texas Transportation Commission requested local funding for the project from CAMPO and the Texas Department of Transportation’s Austin District.
“Part of that approval was prioritizing these different projects for refunding once funding became available in the future,” said Ryan Collins, CAMPO’s short-range planning manager. “We put a pause on these projects, but we’ll refund them as we can.”
CAMPO secured the $14.2 million in funding from federal COVID-19 packages, said Doise Miers, community outreach manager with CAMPO. It then created an evaluation score to guide its decision-making process, which looked at how much the project would improve congestion, project readiness and other factors. However, it also considered cost to ensure that its funding would cover a significant portion of the projects.
More than half of the funding went toward six projects in Hays County, with the FM 2001 project receiving the most federal dollars at $5.8 million, according to CAMPO documents. That project would change the road into a four-lane divided road and add pedestrian and signal improvements.
Five other projects in Hays County received a total of $1.5 million in funding, including Hwy. 123, Garlic Creek Parkway, RM 12, RM 3237 and the FM 1626-RM 967 intersection.
The vote also committed $4.7 million in federal funding to a project that would add grade separation between the MetroRail Red Line and North Lamar Boulevard.
In Williamson County, $2.2 million was approved for a Lakeline Boulevard project that would add two lanes and upgrade bicycle facilities and sidewalks.
“It’s actually pretty balanced as far as the mode goes. You’ve got some transit; you've got some bicycle-pedestrian projects, studies as well as construction,” Collins said.
CAMPO left nine Travis and Williamson county projects on its deferred list, which total $106 million. Those projects included $25 million for two RM 620 projects, $22 million for a widening project on Pearce Lane and $12 million for a widening project on New Hope Drive.
It also removed nine projects from consideration because they found funding from other sources since CAMPO deferred them. The largest of those projects was a $7.3 million city of Austin project to improve signal priority technology for transit and emergency vehicles.