A new plan would add $4.3 billion in additional funding toward expansion of Interstate 35 through central Texas, and would bring the total investment in the I-35 Capital Express Project to $7.5 billion. The Texas Transportation Commission discussed the proposal during its monthly meeting on Feb. 27.
According to the Texas Dept. of Transportation, full funding for the central segment of the I-35 Capital Express Project would come from three sources. The first pot of money would come from $3.4 billion in discretionary funds the commission discussed Feb. 27. An additional $600 million would be taken from TxDOT-funded projects through the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization that have not yet gone to procurement. The third component of the funding, about $300 million, would be part of the state's 2021 Unified Transportation Program that the commission will vote on in August.
“In recent years, I-35 through Austin has repeatedly been one of the worst chokepoints for drivers in Austin and Texas and the source for understandable frustration,” Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg Jr., said in a statement. “The I-35 Capital Express Project is a statewide strategic priority project, not just for Austin, but the state of Texas. If Austin wants to continue to be a beacon for business and a wonderful quality of life, then work on I-35 Capital Express needs to happen as soon as possible.”
The I-35 Capital Express Project is one of the key projects that is part of a statewide congestion relief effort called Texas Clear Lanes.
With the additional funding, the agency and its construction partners would be able to move forward with the addition of two continuous non-tolled managed lanes in each section along the 7.9 mile section on I-35 from US 290 East to US 290 West/SH71.
This work currently shows as two projects on the Texas Clear Lanes website, with the I-35 Capital Express North: SH 45 North to US 290 East that would add one non-tolled managed lane in each direction, and the I-35 Capital Express South: US 290 West to SH 45 Southeast project that would add two non-tolled managed lanes in each direction. The timeline for both projects currently shows as 2022-2025. Additional auxiliary lanes in various places and frontage roads would also be built.