AM Update
8:46 am
Tue April 10, 2012

AM Update: MoPac Improvement Money, Pflugerville Utility Rates, Tornado Damage in Dallas

MoPac Improvement Plan Makes Move for New Funding

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority has offered a preliminary proposal to acquire $135 million for the MoPac Improvement Plan.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) notified Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board (CAMPO) of an unexpected funding windfall of $135 million. During a CAMPO work session last night, CTRMA requested that they receive the new funding to begin the improvements to MoPac.

CAMPO has notified the Mobility Authority that funding must be allocated by September 28, 2012 otherwise the money will be diverted elsewhere. MoPac is the project closest to shovel ready, making the project an eligible candidate for the money.

KUT previously reported the funding would be used in adding express lanes on either side of MoPac, in hopes of easing the traffic congestion the highway currently experiences.

CAMPO has offered support for the proposal pending further discussion and possible adjustments to the exact numbers the Mobility Authority may receive, which will be decided during a final vote in June, reports the Statesman.

Pflugerville City Council Tries to Waive Utility Rate Increases

The Pflugerville City Council is meeting tonight. The first item on the agenda is discussion and consideration of a proposed agreement with SouthWest Water Company Utilities.

The agreement would put a temporary end to a battle between the city and the utility—operating as Windermere Utility Company—over rate increases.

If the council approves the agreement, Windermere will waive the right to seek or charge a rate increase or fees for at least 12 months. In exchange, the City of Pflugerville will pay the company $176,752 and will not try to acquire Windermere properties or equipment for at least one year.

Still, the contract does say that the city will have to consider—and not unreasonably deny—a rate increase in that 12 month period should “unforeseen circumstances” arise.

The city and the water utility would also agree to work together to establish a long-term water solution for Pflugerville.

Windermere provides water services to about 15,000 Pflugerville residents in the northwestern part of the city—that’s a little less than one-third of the entire Pflugerville population.

The Pflugerville City Council is meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church on Pecan Street.

Dallas Residents Assess Damage

The Associated Press reports homeowners have claimed more than $300 million in damages after North Texas tornadoes tore through the state last week – and that number is still growing.

As KUT News previously reported, up to 12 twisters ripped through the Dallas-Fort Worth area last Tuesday and left a path of destruction in their wake. Now residents must are left with the task of assessing the damages. The Southwestern Insurance Information Service estimates that home and auto damage claims could top $500 million.

Sandra Helin, president of the company, says more than 350 homes were destroyed and 1000 were damaged, reports the AP.

The storms last week not only produced tornadoes but severe hailstorms as well forcing hundreds of flights to be canceled, leaving many travelers stranded around Texas. No fatalities have been reported.