May 13, 2019 - -
Some See A Plan To Expand I-35 As A Betrayal Of Austin’s Environmental Values -
Last week, the Austin City Council voted to back the Green New Deal, a national plan to tackle climate change that would overhaul the U.S. economy and energy sector. It was a big gesture from a city that prides itself on its environmental leadership. But, critics say, that gesture was undercut by a vote some local leaders took earlier that week – one that would drastically expand Interstate 35.

The Capital Area Regional Planning Organization Transportation Policy Board, on which some council members also sit, approved meting out $500 million to the Texas Department of Transportation to reduce highway congestion on 35. $400 million would go toward building out three new lanes on I-35 from Round Rock to Buda.

Supporters of the highway expansion, including the Real Estate Council of Austin, say adding lanes would help alleviate I-35’s notorious traffic. Before voting in favor of the measure, Austin Mayor Steve Adler called expansion the region’s "singular most important lift" when it comes to transportation planning.

But critics describe the project differently.

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