December 16, 2016 - Vianna Davila - San Antonio Express-News -
SAN MARCOS — San Antonio and Austin transportation officials pledged Friday to continue studying how to relieve congestion along the Interstate 35 corridor, a plan that has long included commuter rail but may not in the future.
They also gave the Texas Department of Transportation the go-ahead to start a new I-35 study that could take a year to complete. As part of that work, TxDOT will determine if rail is a viable plan for the corridor: does it make financial sense, will people ride it and can it relieve congestion, said Carlos Swonke, director of TxDOT’s environmental division. TxDOT will also look at other transportation options for the corridor, like whether to add more general-purpose, toll or high-occupancy-vehicle lanes. “We are casting a very broad net on potentially all types of modes,” Swonke said. Now, officials must go back to their respective metropolitan planning organizations to formalize the agreement with TxDOT. There is currently no funding for design or construction of a rail line between the two regions. Both are rapidly growing in population. Bexar County alone is expected to add 1.1 million more people by 2040.