May 13, 2019 - KUT.org - 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.