The expansion of I-35 through the heart of Austin, scheduled to start next spring, would hit our city with almost a decade of massive construction followed by more traffic, GHG emissions, pollution, noise, urban sprawl, car dependency, traffic dangers, heat island effects, a weakened Project Connect – and the same level of congestion as before. And right now, it looks like the highway caps you’ve seen touted everywhere by TxDOT might very well not even happen (with the exception of the UT one), since the deadline TxDOT set for the city to come up with over 700 million dollars in funding – for the support structures alone – is extremely unrealistic.
A few weeks ago, Travis County issued an important letter to TxDOT insisting on a better I-35 project for central Austin. Last week, Austin City Council followed suit and passed an excellent resolution that calls the current project’s environmental impact “unacceptable” and asks for the project to be put on hold until further environmental reviews are complete.
This is huge, but unfortunately not binding for TxDOT in any way. To prevent the expansion in favor of much more livable, equitable, and sustainable approaches (e.g. Reconnect Austin or Rethink35), we are anticipating some further very important votes this fall that will be crucial to how this project moves forward. A public display of opposition to the doomed-to-fail, backward-looking expansion is more important now than it has ever been. And this is where you come in!
Rethink35 and others are organizing a big historic, family-friendly rally on Sunday, November 5, 11am, at Sanchez Elementary School (73 San Marcos St). There will be music, speakers (incl. US Congressman Greg Casar), some games, and food trucks. If you do one thing this year to prevent I-35 from getting even bigger (up to 22 lanes! ), uglier, more congested, dividing, and polluting, this should be it.
Thank you and best,