Travis County commissioners voted unanimously to approve the Travis County Transportation Blueprint at a July 16 meeting of the Commissioners Court.
“I’m delighted to see where we’re going with this,” said Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, who represents Precinct 3. He referred to the blueprint as “plausible and understandable” and one that takes into consideration the financial constraints that the county faces.
The blueprint has been in development for three years and is intended to address the county’s transportation vision and goals through 2045. It will be updated every five years and may be amended by the Commissioners Court as needed.
County staff forecast that transportation funding through 2045 will reach nearly $2 billion, not including current commitments; the bulk of this estimate is attributed to roadway projects.
The forecast is based on historical trends for five-year bond cycle and four-year state and federal grant funding project calls, and it takes into consideration inflation, according to a brief prepared by staff.
Commissioner Jeff Travillion, who represents Precinct 1, said the blueprint is a “commendable and important” step in the direction of correcting past inequities in county transportation investments.
“One point that I want to make is that we’ve had generations and generations of under-investment in many parts of our town,” he said, citing the northeast and southeast portion of Travis County. “If we are going to build a system that serves our … region, we can’t just put roads where rich people are.”
In December 2014, commissioners unanimously adopted a land, water and transportation plan to guide future growth while protecting natural resources in unincorporated areas of Travis County. That plan tasked county staff with completing a local, long-range transportation plan for those same unincorporated areas.
In late 2016, the county’s transportation and natural resources department began work on this second plan, working with local jurisdictions, transportation agencies and public stakeholders.
The blueprint is distinct from but informed by both the county’s five-year bond program, approved by voters in 2017, and its transit development plan, which commissioners adopted in July 2018.
Commissioners approved a draft of the blueprint in November 2018. Since then, county staff have worked with a consulting firm to conduct a second phase of public engagement, feedback from which affected the adopted version of the blueprint.
The adopted blueprint includes many components, not limited to guiding principles; public engagement; county road and transit projects; corridor and intersection improvement programs; and ongoing studies, such as the Hamilton Pool Road/Pedernales River crossing feasibility study.
The blueprint will not only guide transportation planning but also serve as a basis for the county’s submission to the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s long-range transportation plan update for 2045. CAMPO serves a six-county region—Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties—and is federally required to produce transportation planning documents.
Members of the Commissioners Court will also rely on the plan when considering future bond elections, certification of obligation approvals and grant project applications.