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County Commissioners Approve Some Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack (Update)

View Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack in a larger map

Update: Travis County Commissioners have agreed to fund the construction of a new road in Del Valle near the Circuit of the Americas track using non-taxpayer approved bonds. Commissioner Margaret Gomez, who represents the area where the road will be built, says the project is critical for economic development.

Commissioners approved extending Kellam Road from its current dead-end at Pearce Lane out to Texas 71 in accordance with a recommendation from the county’s Transportation and Natural Resources Department.

The move was narrowly approved, with commissioners Ron Davis and Bruce Todd abstaining from the final vote.

“Everybody else is bringing in the revenue but the county ain’t bringing in anything,” Davis said.

The plan calls for two traffic lanes, a continuous left-turn lane, sidewalk and bike lane. Commissioners postponed the expansion of Elroy Road to four lanes in accordance with the recommendation.

Earlier: Travis County Commissioners are set to reconsider commissioner Margaret Gomez’s accelerated roadway proposal for Del Valle today.

The Austin-American Statesman reports an alternate proposal from commissioner Bruce Todd would delay a decision for several weeks, while commissioners look at funding from other sources. The commissioners court will consider the proposal today as Item 41 on its agenda.    

You can watch the meeting online at the Travis County Clerk’s website.

Original story (Sept. 19):Travis County commissioners clashed this week over a proposal to accelerate plans for roadway development in Del Valle, near the Circuit of the America’s racetrack. 

Commissioner Margaret Gomez, whose Precinct 4 includes Del Valle and the COTA racetrack, had proposed the project. Estimated at a cost of up to $20 million, the project would widen the segment of Elroy Road between McAngus and Kellam roads from two lanes to four. It would also build a new five-lane road extending Kellam Road out to State Highway 71. 

The additional street capacity would certainly help during events like Formula 1, when racing fans from around the world flock to southeast Austin. But while commissioner Gomez argued that the project is critical to economic development in the low-income community of Del Valle, some of her colleagues questioned the project’s accelerated timetable.

“My question – and I bet you that it’s the common denominator with everybody sitting here that’s going to speak to us today – is whether COTA is somehow the reason that we’re doing this,” said commissioner Bruce Todd.

Tensions centered on proposed sources for funding. Gomez proposed the county finance the project itself, arguing it would pay for itself through stimulated economic growth and property tax on new developments. Commissioner Todd had asked to convene a working group of stakeholders including the City of Austin, the Texas Department of Transportation and others – groups that could help shoulder the cost.

Read Gomez’ pitch for the project and Todd’s suggestions.

With disagreement over how to proceed, the commission voted to postpone action until its next meeting. 

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