San Antonio/ Transportation & Infrastructure
AI Assisted Icon
Published on February 23, 2024
TxDOT Seeks Community Input on Austin-San Antonio I-35 Corridor FutureSource: X/TxDOT San Antonio

The Texas Department of Transportation is calling on the public to lay their cards on the table regarding the future of the I-35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio. According to FOX San Antonio, TxDOT wants to hear from residents about their transport wishes and woes in a move to tackle the potentially paralyzing traffic as population booms. During the last of three open houses yesterday, locals like Tina Beecham from Central Texas were pitching thoughts on everything from HOV lanes to commuter rails.

The study that TxDOT has put under the spotlight is just the beginning, a nascent inquiry that could take over a decade to bear fruit in concrete form. "What the study really does is get input from the community, that way TxDOT knows exactly what it is that people want out here as we try to connect SH-45 down I-35 all the way to the NEX project in San Antonio," TxDOT's Antonio Lujan shared with attendees, stakeholders fighting to make their daily commutes less of a slog. Lujan underscored the potential doubling of this corridor's population by 2050, stressing that the feedback loop couldn't be more critical, as reported by FOX San Antonio.

Not everyone believes TxDOT is ahead of the curve, though. San Marcos resident Harry Ingham feels the state is playing catch-up. "They should have done this 15-20 years ago," Ingham told FOX San Antonio. Despite his criticism, there is optimism in Ingham’s voice, a hope that the wheels are finally turning towards tangible transit improvements.

Those missing out on physical meetings aren't left in the dust, according to KVUE. Virtual meetings are an option, and the public has until March 8 to sling their opinions into TxDOT's online suggestion box. This all comes in the wake of Gov. Greg Abbott's August announcement of a $142 billion transportation bonanza, a move to pave new paths across Texas with only a third of the funds incoming from the feds. However, despite these initiatives, TxDOT is mired in legal mudslinging over allegations the I-35 expansion in Central Austin will bankroll racial inequity and environmental degradation.

At a San Marcos transportation summit, TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams emphasized the department's commitment to community collaboration. Yet, with legal hurdles and the looming task of sustaining regional and national economies on congested roadways, the road to improvement is anything but a clear stretch ahead. Meanwhile, advocates for a robust rail system must wait in the wings, as their proposal remains an idea amid the current focus on asphalt and expansion.