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TexPIRG Statement on I35 Expansion Boondoggle

For Immediate Release

On Wednesday, the Texas Transportation Commission came out with a plan to fully fund the proposed expansion of Interstate 35 through downtown Austin. The following can be attributed to Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG Education Fund Director. 

“Time and again, we see Texas’ transportation priorities are headed in the wrong direction.For eight billion dollars, we could do far better than a project that won’t solve congestion, will increase our burden on the environment, and will exacerbate our reliance on cars.”

“As we outline in our Highway Boondoggles report, there is no reason to believe that this expansion will lessen congestion. In fact, it is likely that by increasing the demand for driving, commute times on the new highway will increase, as they did in Houston when TxDOT expanded the Katy Freeway to one of the nation’s largest. The phenomenon that increasing road capacity induces more people to drive and results in new congestion is so predictable that it has been called the Fundamental Law of Road Congestion.”

“We need more solutions like the proposed plan for public transit in the city: Project Connect. Focusing on moving people, not cars, should be our top priority. And $8 billion would lay a lot of track, put more busses on the road, and make for a more walkable, bikeable city. We look forward to the day that the state’s transportation priorities reflect the growing evidence for the benefits of public transit.”

“Austin has plenty of great opportunities to make it easier to get around, while creating a happier and healthier city. Another highway expansion isn't one of them."

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