TxDOT prioritizes I-35 for Prop. 1 funds

TxDOT prioritizes I-35 for Prop. 1 fundsAbout $120 million in Proposition 1 funding will be pumped into Central Texas road projects in 2015 with the majority of funding going toward I-35 projects in Hays, Travis and Williamson counties.

Eighty percent of Texas voters approved Prop. 1 on Nov. 4. This approval diverts a portion of oil and gas tax revenue from the Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund, to the State Highway Fund. Revenue will help bridge a $5 billion annual shortfall. In the first year $1.74 billion will go to the Texas Department of Transportation for four purposes: congestion relief, connectivity, maintenance, and repair of energy sector roads damaged by vehicles used in development and production of energy.

In October the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Central Texas regional transportation planning agency, threw its support behind TxDOT using the majority of the 2015 Prop. 1 funding for I-35. CAMPO is also providing $33.1 million to use toward these projects, bringing the Austin district’s total allotment to more than $150 million.

Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, who sits on CAMPO’s policy board, said it is clear TxDOT understands how important addressing I-35 congestion between Georgetown and San Marcos is, but the agency’s needs are far greater than its resources.

“Funding is a problem,” he said. “Thank goodness people in the state passed Prop 1. The unfortunate thing is I-35 is just one piece of what really needs to be improved in our area.”

Individually the projects on I-35 set to receive Prop. 1 funding will have a local effect on aiding congestion. Overall, Terry McCoy, TxDOT deputy district engineer for Austin, said the projects contribute to the agency’s focus on the highway.

“As you start to build that string of pearls, start putting projects together cumulatively, you’re able to do a lot of good,” he said.

In Travis County, I-35 intersection improvements at William Cannon Drive and Stassney Lane will involve reversing ramps so drivers have more time to safely merge on and off the main lanes. The project also involves widening the frontage roads and reconstructing both bridges.

TxDOT did not have as many I-35 projects queued in its pipeline in Hays County, but it will complete five ramp reversals in Hays between FM 150 and the Blanco River.

“This is a project we can move fairly quickly on, which is important,” McCoy said. “It allows us to put money in Hays County so we get money into each of the three counties we have I-35 in.”

In identifying projects for the first round of Prop. 1 funding, McCoy said it was important that projects could be bid for construction in 2015. This means construction likely will begin by spring and summer 2016.

Will Conley, Hays County commissioner and CAMPO policy board chairman, said the Hays County I-35 project will not only boost mobility and safety but also open economic development opportunities.

“We’re hoping to work with the [Austin] district and administration to show our state legislators we’re handling these new funds in a responsible way for the benefit of the citizens of Texas and that [Prop. 1’s] success leads to future dollars to improve infrastructure,” he said.

By Amy Denney

Managing Editor, Austin metro

Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and later 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.


Gov. Greg Abbott announced the date for a second special legislative session. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Abbott announces second special session agenda

The special session will be Aug. 7 with 17 items on the agenda ranging from bail reform to employment.

San Marcos City Council set out to have a discussion about the city's utility assistance program and ended up forgiving all current residential delinquencies. (Photo Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)
San Marcos City Council forgives utility debt

City Council previously set up a program to assist with payments.

TxDOT breaks ground on the $107 million I-35 at Hwy. 123 project in San Marcos. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Construction on I-35 at Hwy. 123 project in San Marcos gets underway

The project is one of several initiatives that TxDOT is undertaking on I-35 in Central Texas.

Q&A: Greg Smith, executive director of Fast Growth School Coalition

Greg Smith is the former superintendent of Clear Creek ISD and became executive director of Fast Growth School Coalition in December 2020. 

The Kyle City Council approved a map for an update to its transportation master plan during a meeting July 6. (Courtesy Fotolia)
New Kyle transportation plan seeks to keep pace with city’s relentless growth

The plan outlines an increase of I-35 crossings from three to five.

Hays County health officials are urging members of the community to get vaccinated to avoid hospitalization and serious illness. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Hays County reports 2 COVID-19-related fatalities as cases continue to climb

Hays County reported two deaths and 470 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend.

Photo of a doctor with a pregnant woman
Austin health experts warn delta variant could pose higher risk for pregnant women

Maternal medicine doctors across Central Texas have seen increasing numbers of pregnant women coming to the hospital with breathing issues and pregnancy complications as a result of COVID-19.

Wayback Burgers makes cooked-to-order burgers and hand-dipped milkshakes. (Courtesy Wayback Burgers)
6 eateries open or coming to Cedar Park, Leander; Trudy's North Star reopens in Northwest Austin and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area, including Tiff's Treats opening in Hutto.

student writing on paper
Texas Legislature allows parents to opt for students to repeat grade levels or courses

Senate Bill 1697 is effective for the 2021-22 school year.

Photo of medical professions in a hospital
Health officials warn ICU space is critically low as Travis County sees its 900th COVID-19 death

As the delta variant drives transmission rates up, local hospital systems warn that ICUs are strained.

At Blue Gecko, a Texas Taco comes with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, cheese and bacon. (Courtesy Blue Gecko)
New taco spot opens in Four Points; roadwork for Austin's Zilker Eagle continues and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area, including news on when Lou Neff Road will open in Central Austin.

The Oaks at Slaughter development will have several new businesses opening by the end of 2021. (Deeda Lovett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Shopping coming to Congress Ave.; Pflugerville preps tract near Living Spaces and more top Central Texas news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area, including news on four businesses coming to Hutto.