Travis County approves draft transportation plan for projects through 2045

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Travis County commissioners unanimously approved on Tuesday a draft of the county’s first long-range, local transportation plan. Following the action taken today, the proposed Travis County Transportation Blueprint 2045 will be presented to residents over the coming months for feedback.

Travis County Transportation Blueprint 2045

The draft plan includes:
• an arterial project list with future right-of-way needs;
• bicycle, pedestrian and trail concepts;
• a county transit component;
• programs for congested corridor management, high collision locations, bridges, low water crossings and pedestrian safety;
• feasibility studies for west Travis County lake and river crossings and the Pedernales River; and
• a sidewalk and bicycle lane inventory

“A lot of [the draft plan]is based on safety and how we can improve infrastructure and safety for all modes of transportation given that it is reliable and equitable,”County Long Range Planning Manager Scheleen Walker said.

Historically, the county has updated its long range transportation plan as part of the six-county Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, or CAMPO, plan every five years. However, as federal and state funding for transportation infrastructure has increasingly been targeted to larger, regional projects, the county opted to produce a more comprehensive plan, Walker said.

The plan—in the works since 2016—has been designed alongside updates to the city of Austin and CapMetro’s long range transportation plans, Walker said. In addition, county staff has consulted with surrounding counties, other municipalities within the county, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.

“I would like us to really emphasize safety,” Commissioner Brigid Shea said. “I think it’s important to also look at fatalities or injuries to individuals who are pedestrians and drivers of vehicles. I’d like for us to cast a wide net on understanding where the accidents are occurring, particularly if they are adjacent to or at an intersection that includes a Travis County road.”

The final plan will be financially constrained—based on the amount of local, state, federal and private funding the county expects for transportation infrastructure and programs over the next 30 years. County staff is reviewing a revenue estimate that will be used alongside public input to develop the final plan, according to Tuesday’s presentation.

Adoption of the plan will not commit the county to any specific fiscal impacts at this time. However, the plan contains some projects that have already received commissioners’ approval for funding, including the 2017 bond programs.

Next steps

A draft of the blueprint will be presented to residents, with public engagement aimed for November, December and January, Walker said. County residents will be asked to prioritize among the projects in the draft plan.

Following this, county staff will present an updated plan to the court for consideration in spring 2019.

If adopted, the plan could be incorporated into the CAMPO 2045 long range plan, scheduled to be updated in 2020.

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Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Jackson Buchanan is the editor for the Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She has a bachelor's and master's degree from The University of Texas.
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