Western Travis and southwestern Williamson counties are set to see more money pumped into studying ways to improve congestion in the next two years.

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, which coordinates regional transportation planning in Central Texas, identified $750,000 in federal funding for a CAMPO subcommittee to analyze mobility in those parts of the two counties. In Travis County the study would focus on areas west of Loop 360.

Because the Texas Department of Transportation has already invested funds in studying RR 620 and Loop 360, CAMPO Executive Director Ashby Johnson said the subcommittee would not duplicate what TxDOT is doing.

“My recommendation is that we build upon the TxDOT studies and take it to the next step of looking at options to see what is feasible,” he said. “If we’ve got enough money, in some cases I would like to see something close to a design phase.”

Funding for the CAMPO mobility study was identified in its Unified Planning Work Program for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. This document indicates to the Texas Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration how CAMPO will use federal funding for planning activities, Johnson said. The UPWP is not set in stone and may be amended as needed, he added.

CAMPO’s policy board—consisting of elected officials from Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties—approved the UPWP during its June 8 meeting.

Johnson said the subcommittee will begin meeting in August. At a previous CAMPO meeting Will Conley, chairman of the policy board and a Hays County Commissioner, said the subcommittee will be comprised of elected officials and other key stakeholders.

The UPWP also includes how other agencies such as TxDOT will use planning funds. TxDOT will spend $3 million in state highway funds to study Loop 360—in addition to a $1.2 million corridor study underway—as well as $500,000 for RR 620.

Additionally the UPWP indicates how the city of Austin will use its remaining $3 million in federal funding for urban rail planning. The city had already spent $1 million, but because voters turned down the city’s urban rail proposal in November, Johnson said CAMPO needed to approve how the city could use remaining funds.

Dave Siebold, a CAMPO board member and an outgoing Capital Metro board member, said Capital Metro and the city have been meeting to discuss the best use of the remaining funds, which would not include a further rail study. Instead the funding would analyze the Central Corridor, which is bounded by RM 2222, Springdale Road, Oltorf Street and MoPac.

“This was to … work on ways of what we have control over whether that be buses [or] express buses,” Siebold said. “What can we do with what we have? We are prepared … to go out for bid to get this thing started.”