We took a look at how that money will impact roads and transportation across Texas and Austin.
How the infrastructure bill will affect roads in Austin, Texas
According to the White House, $26.9 billion would go toward federal highway programs in Texas.
The economic boost comes as Texas Department of Transportation leaders work on plans to overhaul Interstate 35 through Central Austin. The $4.9 billion decade-long project will add two lanes in each direction.
Bob Kaufman, the chief communications officer for TxDOT, said Texas could get nearly $1 billion per year in additional funding for project development, construction and improvements to our roads and bridges over the next five years.
“The bill also includes additional funding for public transit, aviation and passenger rail," Kaufman said. "While we do not specifically know which projects will get the additional funding yet, it's likely we could move forward projects already in various phases of development in our 10-year planning document (Unified Transportation Program). With our state’s population booming, funding for transportation is as vital as ever."
The I-35 expansion project is included in the state’s 10-year plan.
Austin's Project Connect could get boost from infrastructure bill
Texas is expected to get more than $3.3 billion to support public transportation.
That funding could provide a boost to Capital Metro’s Project Connect, the $7.1 billion mass transit plan approved by voters in November 2020. The transit agency plans to add two light rail lines and an underground tunnel to the Capital City over the next 10 years.
It’s not yet clear how much the infrastructure bill could support that project, but at the time voters approved it, the federal government was anticipated to fund at least 45% of the project's overall costs.
The federal money is also expected to support a 30% pay increase for bus drivers and 13% for mechanics, if union members agree to the temporary wage agreement later this week, Deputy CEO Dottie Watkins told KVUE.
Capital Metro released the following statement Monday:
“Capital Metro congratulates and thanks President Biden and Congress on the approval of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which will fund a historic investment in transit and infrastructure. It will increase base funding for CapMetro and will provide more opportunities in the discretionary or competitive funding pools. These programs will provide a significant increase in available federal funding for Project Connect. We are analyzing the infrastructure bill's full details and opportunities and will provide additional information as it becomes available.“
Will infrastructure money support Austin airport's expansion plan?
Texas airports are anticipated to get $1.2 billion from the federal government as part of the infrastructure deal, which would support development and improvements.
At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), leaders are currently finalizing plans for an expansion to address the uptick in travelers. Passenger growth has tripled at AUS since 1999, setting a record in 2019 with more than 17 million flyers.
The plan calls for improvements to the Barbara Jordan Terminal and a new 20-gate concourse, which would be connected through an underground tunnel. Airport leaders are expected to submit an environmental assessment review to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval early next year.
AUS provided the following statement on Monday:
“The bipartisan infrastructure bill is an important investment in supporting airport infrastructure across the country, especially as airports continue to recover from the pandemic. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will work with the FAA to determine projects that are eligible for grant funding under the $1.2 billion allocated for Texas airports, with the priority of supporting Airport Expansion and Development Program terminal optimization and improvement projects. Federal funding is a critical resource that will enable AUS to support near- and long-term growth while delivering an improved airport experience to passengers.”
Other investments include $408 million for an electric vehicle charging network, $100 million for broadband, $53 million for wildfire protection, and $42 million for cyber-attack protection.
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