Each year, tolls on roads operated by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority are increased to keep up with inflation. The Mobility Authority ties those increases to inflation—specifically, the consumer price index, or CPI, which measures changes in how much consumers pay for goods and services over time. This year, that CPI increase is 1.37%, which means toll rates will increase Jan. 1 by $0.01 to $0.02 per gantry.
The Mobility Authority had an option Oct. 28 to raise the rates further, up to 2.3%, according to a forecast by engineering consultant Stantec in a report on financing for a project that would add toll lanes along US 183 from Leander to Liberty Hill. However, the board opted to stick with the lower increases.
“I have a concern about raising the rates beyond inflation, particularly in this economy. People are suffering,” board member David Armbrust said.
The board also chose to keep the base toll rate on the MoPac express lanes at $0.35 rather than to adopt a scheduled $0.05 increase Jan. 1. The board’s policy is to increase the base rate by $0.05 per segment each year in order to eventually align the MoPac rates with the half-dollar base rate on the forthcoming US 183 North toll project, which would see the construction of express lanes in Northwest Austin.
The new toll project is expected to start construction in 2021 and open in 2025. Board member John Langmore said the Mobility Authority is still evaluating the project along US 183, and therefore a one-year pause in difficult economic times made sense.
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City will break ground on Burnet Road corridor mobility work early next year
The northern portion of the Burnet Road corridor project approved in the city of Austin’s 2016 mobility bond is moving forward after receiving clearances from the state.
The Texas Department of Transportation approved environmental clearances for the project along Burnet, according to an Oct. 27 news release from the city of Austin’s Corridor Program Office. The green light from TxDOT now allows the city to begin work on the project.
Improvements along Burnet will run from the road’s intersection with US 183 to the MoPac frontage road north of The Domain. The planned improvements include pedestrian and bicyclist improvements that address safety and mobility needs, according to the corridor program office’s news release. This work will break ground in early 2021 and is scheduled to be complete within four months and ahead of the Austin FC stadium opening.
Further drainage and roadway construction on the Burnet corridor will begin following the pedestrian and cyclist improvements. The corridor program office states that work could begin in 2022.
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I-35 at US 183 flyover
State crews finished pouring the deck of the upcoming southbound I-35 to southbound US 183 flyover. This is the first of three decks to be substantially complete, according to TxDOT.
Timeline: January 2018-mid-2021
RM 2222 improvements
Sidewalks were installed in October from McNeil Drive to River Place Boulevard. Crews are installing traffic signals at River Place, McNeil and Sitio Del Rio Boulevard.
Timeline: fall 2018-late 2021