Regional organization plans improvement to highway congestion

News Reporter

 

An Austin-based group has proposed methods to relieve Interstate Highway 35 of its congestion.

Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (C.A.M.P.O.) lobbies for transportation legislature on behalf of Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties. The organization began the 2040 Plan early last year. The plan proposes a strategy to clear up congestion on IH-35 by the year 2040, said Ashley Johnson, C.A.M.P.O. director.

Johnson spoke to citizens during a luncheon Feb. 17 in conjunction with San Marcos City Council, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Technical Advisory Committee and Transportation Policy Board with updates on the 2040 Plan.

Johnson said the draft portion of the plan is complete and will be available to the public March 7 on the C.A.M.P.O. website.

C.A.M.P.O. officials will request funds during the state legislative session to create a public transit system and rideshare program that will encourage commuters to stop driving. The public transit system and rideshare program could help relieve congestion, Johnson said.

“This year’s legislative session is our best chance in 15 to 20 years for the funding we need,” Johnson said.

Johnson said changes will probably not be complete soon. The “2040 Plan” is a literal title. The issues IH-35 faces will not be completely resolved until 2040.

The completion of the plan rests on government funding and decisions made by the legislature, she said.

“Right now we’re pinpointing the problems and proposing solutions,” Johnson said. “The congestion on IH-35 creates unclean air and a safety hazard. We want to resolve that by changing things up.”

Johnson proposed adding more efficient public transportation. He also suggested working with the cities along IH-35 to put more thought into the distance between apartments, neighborhoods and the areas of town where people commonly work.

“This will create less of a distance between point A and point B and obviously make everyone’s commute shorter,” Johnson said.