During Monday's press conference to unveil an approximately $850 million highway project, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro announced that the city was willing to participate in the Texas Department of Transportation’s Turnback Proposal.
The proposal would transfer control of nine streets, approximately 21.8 total miles, from TxDOT to the city.
When city officials first got the proposal late last year, they wanted no part of it.
"There's 22 different corridors that are state-owned. TxDOT was talking about turning (all) those back over to the city and trying to do that all at once was a very big financial burden to the city," said City Engineer Mike Frisbie. “Instead of 129 miles, it's 22 miles, and we're talking about nine corridors that make sense to the city from an economic development standpoint to be under city control.”
The streets being considered in the proposal include Broadway, Culebra, UTSA, Eckert, Lone Star Pass, Hausman, Fredericksburg Road and San Pedro.
Frisbie said maintaining the roadways would cost about $2 million annually, down from the estimated $18 million it would have cost to take over all 22 roadways.
As part of the proposal, TxDOT would perform major maintenance work on the streets before turning control over to the city, which Frisbie said would keep maintenance costs at a minimum for about five years.
District 6 Councilman Ray Lopez applauded the compromise and said it cuts out the middle man.
“Any change that we (want) to do has to move through TxDOT and their funding formulas, and the reality of it is their funding formulas come from tax dollars from San Antonio,” he said. “San Antonio contributes quite a bit of money into those transportation revenue streams. We don’t always get back the portion that we put in so now that we have full control over it we're going to be able to make those allocations and expedite a lot of the maintenance.”