Central Texas transportation updates

Airports

More travelers are using Austin-Bergstrom International Airport as their gateway to the skies. Airport spokesman Jim Halbrook said the airport anticipates reports to show an increase of passengers in 2011 over 2010. While smaller, nearby airports did not all experience an increase in air traffic in 2011, they are making improvements and planning for future growth.

1. Taylor Municipal Airport

  • The City of Taylor is going through the approval process to extend the airport runway from 4,000 to 5,000 feet. Although the extension is years away, Bob van Til, director of planning and development, said the longer runway will allow the airport to accommodate larger business jets compared with the single- and double-engine aircraft that use the airport now.

2. Georgetown Municipal Airport

  • Airport Manager Sarah Hinton said additional events are scheduled at the airport in 2012. The Easter Egg Drop will occur March 31, a movie night is tentatively planned for Father's Day and the third annual Georgetown Airfest is scheduled for Nov. 3.
  • Within the next six months, the airport will resurface and reseal some of the taxiways and lanes and add blue solar lights to make it easier for pilots to navigate.

3. Austin Executive Airport

  • Austin Executive Airport, formerly known as Bird's Nest Airport, opened in June and is planning to begin construction on a new hangar in January, Executive Director Andrew Perry said.

4. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

  • On Dec. 15, Austin City Council approved using the design/build method to construct a fourth passenger screening checkpoint at the airport.
  • A report released Dec. 5 revealed the total passenger traffic for January through October 2011 was up 6 percent compared to the same time period in 2010, marking 22 consecutive months of passenger growth.
  • The free cell phone waiting area for passenger pickup opened Nov. 1.
  • A new holiday overflow parking area near the cargo facilities was finished in late November and has 764 additional spaces off of Spirit of Texas Drive.

Toll roads

With a number of toll roads slated for completion in 2012, this year will represent the most miles added to the system since its debut in the region in 2007. For more information on each of these projects, see the full story on the following page.

1. Manor Expressway

  • Timeline: Phase 1 open summer 2012
  • Cost: Phase 1 is $73.4 million; total cost is $426 million

2. Toll 183A

  • Timeline: Extension open spring 2012
  • Cost: $105 million

3. Toll 130

  • Timeline: Segments 5, 6 open fall 2012
  • Cost: $1.35 billion

4. MoPac Improvement Project

  • Timeline: Environmental review complete in late summer/early fall 2012
  • Cost: Not yet known

5. SH 45 SW

  • Timeline: Not yet known
  • Cost: Not yet known

6. The Y at Oak Hill

  • Timeline: Not yet known
  • Cost: Not yet known
  • Capital Metro was awarded a Federal Transit Authority grant for $38.1 million of a $47.6 million project for a two-route rapid bus system. The first route will replace the limited Route 101 that runs along North Lamar Boulevard from the Tech Ridge Park and Ride to South Congress Avenue and the Southpark Meadows retail center. The second route will run along Burnet Road to South Lamar Boulevard.
  • The faster routes will use new buses, some of them 60 feet in length to accommodate up to 111 people, including wheelchair slots and bicycles. The buses will run every 10 minutes seven days a week and make 77 stops between the two routes. Near downtown, the routes cross one another, allowing for access to both. Design on the first route is complete, but Capital Metro is waiting to receive permission to proceed with design on the second route.
  • Timeline: Capital Metro anticipates receiving the green light to start implementing the project in February or March. Once approved, Capital Metro will complete design on the second route and begin construction on the shelters, purchase the buses and have First Transit start training bus operators.
  • Cost: $47.6 million, including $25.4 million for 40 new buses and construction of shelters at the 77 stops
  • Funding source: The FTA awarded Capital Metro a $38.1 million grant. Capital Metro only pays 20 percent, or $9.5 million, which is coming out of the operating budget.

Capital Metro rapid bus system

Capital Metro was awarded a Federal Transit Authority grant for $38.1 million of a $47.6 million project for a two-route rapid bus system. The first route will replace the limited Route 101 that runs along North Lamar Boulevard from the Tech Ridge Park and Ride to South Congress Avenue and the Southpark Meadows retail center. The second route will run along Burnet Road to South Lamar Boulevard.

The faster routes will use new buses, some of them 60 feet in length to accommodate up to 111 people, including wheelchair slots and bicycles. The buses will run every 10 minutes seven days a week and make 77 stops between the two routes. Near downtown, the routes cross one another, allowing for access to both. Design on the first route is complete, but Capital Metro is waiting to receive permission to proceed with design on the second route.

Timeline: Capital Metro anticipates receiving the green light to start implementing the project in February or March. Once approved, Capital Metro will complete design on the second route and begin construction on the shelters, purchase the buses and have First Transit start training bus operators.

Cost: $47.6 million, including $25.4 million for 40 new buses and construction of shelters at the 77 stops

Funding source: The FTA awarded Capital Metro a $38.1 million grant. Capital Metro only pays 20 percent, or $9.5 million, which is coming out of the operating budget.

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