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 by state 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