Courtesy CAMPO The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization adopted its 2040 long-range transportation plan containing $35.1 billion worth of projects in the six-county region.[/caption]
Part of the plan describes population growth and how that translates to vehicle miles traveled compared to road capacity.[/caption]
A regional transportation plan designed to manage growth in Central Texas nearly received unanimous approval May 11 by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization policy board.
Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt was the only board member who abstained from voting on the CAMPO 2040 long-range plan, saying it did not show enough restraint in terms of cost or determining regional significance of projects.
“In order to manage our growth, we really must do a better job of managing demand and equipping and expanding transit,” she said. “I know that this organization is going to achieve that. ... But we haven’t reached that yet.”
Earlier in the nearly two-hour discussion, Eckhardt expressed concern about the lack of measures to address the region’s total vehicle miles traveled per day, which is expected to more than double by 2040 because of increased population growth, but road capacity will only increase by 15 percent.
“We anticipate by 2040 to have twice as much traffic on just slightly more infrastructure,” she said.
A proposal by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority to add two toll lanes in each direction on MoPac south of Lady Bird Lake is also included in the 2040 plan. Mayor Steve Adler initially proposed an amendment to the 2040 plan to tweak the wording for the project description to “up to and including two lanes.”
After a lengthy discussion about whether that language change would jeopardize the entire plan and warrant another round of public comment, Adler withdrew the motion. Jose Campos, who is the planning team leader with the Federal Highway Administration, said he could not guarantee the FHWA, which accepts the plans, would accept the language change.
CAMPO is responsible for coordinating transportation planning in six counties: Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson. It also approves use of federal funds in the region. The policy board comprises elected officials from those counties and cities in the area, and Hays County Commissioner Will Conley serves as board chairman.
Every five years CAMPO is required to approve a new long-range plan, and planning for the 2040 plan began in May 2013. These plans include projects deemed regionally significant and funded with local or regional dollars. It also includes transit projects as well as measures to improve transportation choices.The $35.1 billion plan includes $11.8 billion in local dollars.
“If you look at the local funding total, especially on the 2040 side, you will see that increasingly the local portion of funding has been making up the difference in the gap,” CAMPO Executive Director Ashby Johnson said. “We are anticipating that this financial effort for this plan will continue until something changes at the legislature.”
Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition as well as covering transportation in the Austin metro. She is now managing editor for the 11 publications in the Central Texas area from Georgetown to New Braunfels. She enjoys spending time with her husband, son and two cats.