Three South Austin mobility improvement projects will advance as planned following a judge’s ruling Friday in a lawsuit brought against the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and the Texas Department of Transportation.
“We are pleased that the judge has denied the claims brought by the plaintiffs so we can continue working to bring meaningful congestion relief to our region,” Mike Heiligenstein, executive director for the Mobility Authority, said in a statement. “Today’s ruling confirms the credibility of the environmental study processes and planning procedures that guide our work. It’s time to separate politics from the science and let the science lead.”
Filed in federal court last year by the Save Our Springs Alliance and other plaintiffs, the litigation sought to halt construction on SH 45 SW, a four-lane, 3.6-mile toll road connecting MoPac to FM 1626 in Hays County; and the MoPac Intersections Project, which aims to improve MoPac at Slaughter Lane and La Cross Avenue. The lawsuit also temporarily suspended the proposed MoPac South project, which seeks to improve approximately eight miles of MoPac from Cesar Chavez Street to Slaughter Lane.
The trial began March 22 in the U.S. District Court of Austin. Plaintiffs based their claims on the assertion that the mobility projects, which were studied independently, should be analyzed as a single project.
The Mobility Authority maintained it had paid close attention the projects’ collective impact on water quality and that each project was studied according to robust state and federal environmental documentation guidelines.
Following Friday’s ruling, progress on the three mobility improvement projects will continue, the Mobility Authority said in a statement.
“Our region has suffered from traffic congestion long enough and we are driven to bring sustainable transportation options to our growing region. Today’s decision marks a renewed commitment to mobility improvements, and it constitutes a huge victory for the residents and commuters of Central Texas.” Heiligenstein said.