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Will Central Texas Drivers Ever See Relief?

Updated: Tuesday, June 24 2014, 06:11 PM CDT

The Texas Department of Transportation released its list of the 100 most congested roadways in the state. Now one year later legislators are finding out what relief, if any, drivers are getting.

Last year I-35 from Hwy 71 to Hwy 183 topped the list at number one. Eight of roadways in Austin were not far behind.

Lost time and fuel totals $9 billion every year. That's about $1,150 for the average commuter.

For years State Senator Kirk Watson has pressured state leaders to find a solution.

"The state of Texas has simply failed in its obligation to find efficient funding to keep our infrastructure up to date as we are a growing," said Watson.

With 110 people moving to Austin every day, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization has provided some relief north and south of I-35.

"CTRMA is working on 183 South, 71 East by the airport. They are also working on 290," said CAMPO manager Cathy Stephens.

Stephens says new express toll lanes on MoPac are also in the works to keep drivers moving. And ride share services now offer alternative transportation.

"There is the bike sharing program, B Cycle. There is car sharing like Zip Car, Car2Go," said Stephens.

But to solve all of Austin's traffic woes it will take close to $5 billion. Funding Watson hopes to get when voters head to the polls in November.

"What [S.J.R. 1] will do is take some money that is collected from severance taxes on oil and gas, and it will put that money into transportation. Depending who you talk to that should amount to $1.2 billion," said Watson.

TxDOT kicked off another traffic solution this month. It's called the variable speed pilot program. On I-35 close to Temple and San Antonio, folks will begin seeing electronic signs with the posted speed limit. Depending on construction, traffic or weather the speed can change.

For more on the top 100 most congested roadways go to http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/100-congested-roadways.html.

By Christie Post

Will Central Texas Drivers Ever See Relief?


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