SOS Alliance has sued our local toll road agency, the "CTRMA," to force the release of a traffic and revenue study on the proposed Mopac South toll lanes. The agency refused to release the traffic study, claiming it was "draft" internal policymaking, and thus exempt from public disclosure.
The study was initiated over two years ago; the agency has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the data and expert analysis contained in the report and is using the report to justify the proposed switch from building only one toll lane in each direction to building two toll lanes in each direction. It has nothing to do with "internal policymaking:" rather it is exactly the kind of information that the Texas Public Information Act requires to be "promptly" produced when requested.
Read a copy of the lawsuit HERE.
A loosely knit coalition of interest groups from across central Texas opposing San Antonio's proposed $3.4 billion, 142-mile long "Vista Ridge" water pipe and pumping project gained steam this past week when a San Antonio City Council commissioned study on water planning that had been suppressed was leaked to the media. The report is critical of the project, concluding that the water supply is "high risk" due to a number of factors. Read the leaked report and the Rivard Report's summary of the situation here.
"Oppose-the-hose" forces include the League of Independent Voters of Texas(with a solid base in the counties east and north of Austin where private water sellers, including San Antonio's contract partner, Abengoa, would pump the water), San Antonio environmental, social justice, and fiscal watchdog groups (including Alamo Sierra Club, and others), and conservation groups across the region (Save Our Springs, San Marcos River Foundation, Clean Water Action, etc) Watch for more big news on this front tomorrow and in the days ahead.
Save Our Springs continues to work with our allies against the push to convert Mopac to a partially tolled, 14-to-16 lane Interstate 35 West. Our local toll agency, CTRMA, is finally revealing more detailed designs of the 45SW segment of the tolled loop and they do not live up to the “greenest road ever” promises made by CTRMA and its toll road partners. To the contrary, the “30% designs” show steps backward, with less protection and a new mixmaster design for the SH 45 SW/Mopac connection just south of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. You have to squint at the drawing – they don’t really want us to know what it looks like.
TxDOT's blind rush to convert Mopac from a local commuter highway into a second Interstate 35 through Austin hit another major pothole last week. In commenting on the proposed SH 45 SW toll road and Mopac expansion, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center wrote: to TxDOT and its toll road partner, CTRMA, that:
"We feel the Selected [SH 45 SW] Alternative as currently designed to funnel 30,000 plus vehicles a day past the Wildflower Center will have a significant adverse impact on the Wildflower Center and jeopardizes its viability.
With its letter the Wildflower Center joined the City of Austin, the City of Rollingwood, Austin High School leaders, and the Keep Mopac Local coalition of neighborhood and environmental groups in calling for a halt to the current scheme to build the SH 45 SW/Mopac expansion loop in a piecemeal fashion and without a comprehensive analysis of the harm that will be done and the available alternatives.