$400M available for Central Texas transportation projects in 2019-22

Reconstruction of the FM 3406 bridge over I-35 is one of several projects listed in the 2017-20 Transportation Improvement Program.

Reconstruction of the FM 3406 bridge over I-35 is one of several projects listed in the 2017-20 Transportation Improvement Program.

Through Jan. 18, cities and counties in Central Texas will submit transportation projects to be considered for $400 million in funding available over the next four years.

Funding comes from state and federal dollars, including from voter-approved propositions 1 and 7, and will be awarded to projects that will be included the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2019-22 Transportation Improvement Program. This plan identifies transportation projects that will begin construction work in 2019-22.

The application process opened Dec. 11 and will close Jan. 18. Jurisdictions in CAMPO’s six-county region, which consist of Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties, may submit projects for funding consideration, as well as agencies such as the Texas Department of Transportation and Capital Metro, the city of Austin’s transit agency.

Projects in the current 2017-20 TIP include:

• Portions of I-35
• SH 29 in Georgetown
• RM 620 in Round Rock
• Bicycle striping and a walking trail in Rollingwood
• Sidewalks along North Lamar Boulevard in North Austin
• RM 1431 in Cedar Park
• Highway Emergency Response Operator, or HERO program.

This spring, CAMPO staff will sift through projects using a set of criteria that its policy board amended in November. In April, the public will have an opportunity to comment on the projects recommended for funding, and the CAMPO policy board will vote on the final list of projects in May.

Projects will be rated on performance, such as the project’s impact on congestion and mobility, its regional impact and safety measures; a cost/benefit analysis; and project readiness, meaning how far along it is in the development process. Projects will receive an overall score and the highest-ranking projects will be recommended for funding, according to CAMPO documents.

“At the end of this entire process, we will have to pick the best projects and create a portfolio that has value for the region as a whole,” said Anthony Gonzales, community outreach planner for CAMPO.

During the public comment period, Gonzales said residents will be able to see which projects didn’t make the cut and why.

Jurisdictions and agencies may also submit projects in six categories: roadways; operations intelligent transportation systems such as dynamic message signs; transit; active transportation, such as walking and biking; transportation demand management; and other for nontraditional projects. Projects are scored in their individual categories.

One of the biggest changes to the criteria was adding a category for travel demand management, or TDM, that would mostly affect the city of Austin.

“The city of Austin really wanted a separate category for TDM for things like a carpool program, work from home or flexible hours,” Gonzales said. “It could apply in different parts of the region but primarily it is for areas that are really congested. The intent was to manage demand of the [transportation] system on those peak hours.”

For more information on the call for projects and criteria, visit www.campotexeas.org.
By Amy Denney

Managing Editor, Austin metro

Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition as well as covering transportation in the Austin metro. She is now managing editor for the 10 publications in the Central Texas area from Georgetown to New Braunfels. She enjoys spending time with her husband, son and two cats.