In 25 years, transportation leaders expect the already congested roads will be twice as crowded—but their long-term plan only increases road capacity by about 15 percent.
Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt was the only Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, or CAMPO, board member who didn't vote in favor of the 2040 plan Monday night, choosing to abstain instead. The plan covers the next 25 years of transit for six counties. Eckhardt’s big message was that the region needs to incorporate more mass transit.
"In order to manage our expected growth, we really must do a better job of managing demand," she said.
About one-third of the standing-room only meeting was supporters for the controversial MoPac South project. The plan is to build a double-deck MoPac over Lady Bird Lake, and build two new tolled, express lanes in each direction.
"It's going to provide the opportunity for a real transit solution," Ward Tisdale, a supporter of the MoPac South plan, said.
In fact, CAMPO says they've received nearly 3,200 comments about their 2040 plan, recently most against the MoPac South project. Now, the toll agency, CTRMA, says they're extending the public comment period as well as keeping other options, like fewer lanes, on the table.
"This is still a really bad deal for our lake and the beauty of our city," opponent Mary Anderson said. "The CTRMA is going to study themselves. Now how do you think those results are going to be?"
Each individual project in the 2040 plan gets a separate approval vote, and the vote on MoPac South won't happen until CTRMA wraps up its public comment period. CAMPO board members say they'll consider building all four express lanes, two express lanes, or scrapping the project altogether.