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The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization oversees transportation planning for the greater Austin region. CAMPO’s jurisdiction includes Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties. Every urban area with a population of 50,000 or greater is federally-required to have a metropolitan planning organization. As part of its federal mandate, CAMPO works with all the local governments within its jurisdiction as well as the Texas Department of Transportation to produce a 25-year long range plan for transportation in the area. As part of its duties, CAMPO also approves federal and state fund use in the region.Beginning with the adoption of its 2035 plan in 2010, CAMPO focused planning out the region’s growth around the centers concept. Rather than allowing the city to spread out, the centers concepts plots specific areas for higher density development. Under the idea, the centers would all be connected by public transportation.

One Step Closer to Managed Toll Lanes on MoPac

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, better known as CAMPO, last night approved its MoPac Improvement Project.

The project will put a managed toll lane in each direction on MoPac, from Cesar Chavez to Parmer Lane. Toll pricing would be adjusted based upon MoPac's level of congestion at the time of use. The hope is to make traffic on the entire freeway move faster.

The $200 million project was put together by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and is being paid for bystate and federal funding. The agreement between the mobility authority and CAMPO also creates an infrastructure fund. Basically, $230 million in money collected from tolls on MoPac over the first 25 years of its operation will be used to pay for other transportation projects in the area.Steve Pustelnyk is with the Regional Mobility Authority. He says this infrastructure fund could help the Austin area continue to make roadway improvements if funds from the government are cut back.

“We don’t know how much money this community is going to have in the next decade to build new projects and so this approach takes a little bit of that risk away and says, ‘we now know for the next 25 years we’re going to have a source of revenue above and beyond what we get from the federal and state government to help fund projects that may or may not make sense with toll projects,” said Pustelnyk.

The MoPac project still has some hurdles to clear. The federal government needs to conduct an environmental study. And the Texas Transportation Commission needs to give the green light.

The Regional Mobility Authority is currently choosing a designer and construction partner for the MoPac project. If everything goes as planned, officials hope construction will begin in 2013.

View MoPac Improvement Project in a larger map

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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