the I-35 challenge
Miles and miles of gridlock. Hours-long commutes. That’s what the experts are predicting along Interstate 35 in the booming Austin-San Antonio corridor. It’s a crisis that’s threatening our region’s prosperity, equal opportunity, and quality of life.
That’s why Lone Star Rail proposes to create more efficient, reliable, and affordable mobilty, avoiding congestion while creating jobs and prosperity in Central and South Texas. Even as we invest in new lane-miles on the interstate and on parallel routes, as long as Austin and San Antonio keep growing, we’ll be unable to keep up with demand.
consider the following:
• In 2011, the Texas Transportation Institute studied the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s long-range plan — which includes new lanes on I-35 and other Austin-area highways. The TTI team found that even with all those improvements, the 20-mile commute from downtown Austin to Round Rock could take three hours by 2035.
• Other studies have projected that actually eliminating peak-hour congestion on north-south highways in the region would take up to fourteen additional lanes in each direction in the most congested parts of the corridor. Current plans envision only two new north-south lanes — to be operated as “managed” toll lanes.
• Freight traffic on I-35 through Texas has ballooned over the last decade as the North American Free Trade Agreement has increased cross-border traffic from Mexico. A 2007 report for the Texas Department of Transportation projected that NAFTA truck traffic would increase nearly 300 percent by 2030 — representing more than 5,000 daily through truck trips on I-35, on top of the tens of thousands of trucks serving local destinations on the increasingly crowded and dangerous interstate.