The Department of Transportation has established a strategic partnership with the city of Austin, TX to facilitate innovative delivery and financing of infrastructure improvements. The Emerging Projects Agreement will provide funding of more than US$22 billion for a network of projects designed to improve travel throughout the region called the “Mobility Program of Projects.”
“The Bureau’s experts will partner with Austin officials to explore innovative approaches and best practices that can advance projects further into development and construction, so communities benefit sooner from the planned improvements,” said Build America Bureau Executive Director, Morteza Farajian. “We are dealing with a large and complicated program of projects that will significantly enhance transportation mobility, resiliency, affordability, and safety. To deliver this program effectively and efficiently, we need to form a strong partnership, engage all stakeholders, use innovative approaches and best practices, and take advantage of all tools in our toolbox.”
A preliminary list of projects that are under consideration from this partnership include:
- Project Connect – a partnership between the City of Austin, Austin Transit Partnership, and Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority to expand and improve the public transportation network for the entire Central Texas region;
- Corridor Construction Program – involves the study, planning, design, and construction of transformative safety and mobility improvements on several significant roadways throughout Austin and Complete Communities infrastructure;
- Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) Expansion and Development Program;
- I-35 “Cap and Stitch” Program – involves new freeway caps and community stitches along eight miles of the corridor, along with efforts to reconnect the community, prioritize equitable transit-oriented development, and address transportation-related environmental justice inequities; and
- Roadway Extensions, Connections, and Capacity Improvements Program to enhance safety.
The Bureau and Austin officials plan to hold a workshop to engage stakeholders, review the infrastructure needs, and help identify the potential innovative solutions. Infrastructure projects that promote equity and environmental justice are of particular interest.
“The Emerging Projects Agreement creates a great opportunity for Austin to try new ideas for accelerating mobility projects in a manner that also respects our community values,” said Austin Mayor Kirk Watson. “I appreciate Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the Build America Bureau, and our Congressional delegation for their continued support and guidance. I hope this partnership will help us deliver critical infrastructure projects more efficiently for our taxpayers.”