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Some road projects that were delayed to pay for I-35 expansion could get federal cash

Vehicles on RM 620
Gabriel C. Pérez
Vehicles driving on RM 620 in Travis County. A plan to add an RM 620 overpass at Anderson Mill Road is among the projects competing for new federal money.

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is considering how to spend $15 million in federal grants on road projects that were delayed to help pay for the planned expansion of I-35 through Travis County.

CAMPO's governing board — a 22-member body made up mostly of Austin-area mayors, council members and elected county officials — voted at the request of TxDOT last year to defer almost $700 million in projects to help fund the $4.9 billion I-35 Capital Express Central Project. The I-35 plan includes adding two high-occupancy vehicle lanes in each direction between Ben White and U.S. 290 East.

Only certain projects are eligible for the $15 million, which CAMPO says it received as part of emergency COVID-19 relief passed by Congress. At least $103 million in transportation plans could qualify, though.

Some of the deferred projects — such as a $1.4 million plan to add 275 traffic cameras across Austin —
were already paid for with other funding sources like local transportation bonds.

Other projects eligible for the federal money include:

  • An $11 million plan to expand West Rundberg lane to a four-lane divided roadway between Metric Boulevard and Burnet Road
  • A $17.1 million project to add more travel lanes, upgraded bicycle facilities and sidewalks along Lakeline Boulevard between Parmer Lane and Lyndhurst Boulevard
  • A $12.4 million widening of New Hope Drive in Cedar Park to four lanes between Sam Bass Road and Ronald Reagan Boulevard
  • A $22 million plan to widen Pearce Lane to four lanes between Kellam Road and the Travis/Bastrop County Line
  • A $25 million project that includes an RM 620 overpass over Anderson Mill Road

Local government agencies had to submit applications by Friday for projects that already have been greenlighted but are still waiting to be funded. Some even sent high-level staff to the CAMPO board meeting Monday to make their case.
"This is a very important project," Capital Metro Executive Vice President Sharmila Mukherjee said of a $5.9 million plan to build a bridge so MetroRail commuter trains can cross North Lamar Boulevard without blocking traffic. "We just request reconsideration for this already-approved critical project."

The CAMPO board is expected to vote next month on which projects to fund.

Got a tip? Email Nathan Bernier at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.

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Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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