US government signs $22bn mobility deal with Austin, Texas

Austin Texas
One of the schemes in line for funding is an improvement to about 12km of the I-35, seen here in San Antonio (Kkinder/CC BY-SA 3.0)

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has established a strategic partnership with the city of Austin, Texas, to develop mobility programmes worth some $22bn.

The ‘Mobility Programme of Projects’ was signed by Morteza Farajian, director of the DOT’s Build America Bureau, and Mayor Kirk Watson at Austin City Hall.

Farajian said the bureau would work with Austin officials “to explore innovative approaches and best practices that can advance projects further into development and construction”.

He added: “We are dealing with a large and complicated programme of projects that will significantly enhance transportation mobility, resiliency, affordability, and safety.”

Schemes that stand to benefit from the initiative include:

  • Project Connect, a partnership between the City of Austin, Austin Transit Partnership, and Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority to expand the public transportation network for the entire Central Texas region ($7.1bn);
  • The Corridor Construction Programme to upgrade a number of traffic arteries ($3.6bn);
  • The Austin Bergstrom International Airport Expansion and Development Programme ($4bn);
  • Improvement works on Interstate-35 ($963m);
  • Roadway extensions, connections, and capacity improvements programmes to enhance safety ($250m).

Under the agreement, the partners will explore the use of low-interest financing instruments such as Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans, Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing, Private Activity Bonds (PABs), and technical assistance grants.

The Bureau and Austin officials will hold a workshop to engage stakeholders, review the infrastructure needs and help identify the potential innovative solutions next month.

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