SAN ANTONIO – More than $300 million in funding is available for projects aimed at reducing congestion and improving air quality, and the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization wants to know where the public thinks the money should be spent.
MPO officials are collecting public input through June 27 and will hold a virtual public hearing Tuesday at 6 p.m., where people can get more information and ask questions.
Local and state agencies submitted proposals to the MPO earlier this year, and staff used scoring criteria to narrow the list down to 68 projects to present to the public.
Those proposals total more than $670 million.
“The problem is that we only have about $300 million dollars in order to award to these projects,” said Allison Blazosky, transportation planning program manager for the Alamo Area MPO. “So we really need the assistance of the public to understand where their priorities are. What projects are most important for them?”
The projects include improvements on roads and highways, as well as transit. They can also include bike lanes and trails.
One project that is a high priority for the City of San Antonio is improvements along Enrique Barrera Parkway between State Highway 151 and U.S. Highway 90. The city requested $13,500,000 to reconstruct the roadway, including new bike lanes, sidewalks and lighting.
That would be welcome news for people like Maria Ruiz, who frequently walks to stores in the area.
“When I’m walking, I have to walk on the edge of the street and there’s no sidewalks, and the cars they just drive fast through here,” Ruiz said. “When I’m crossing, they don’t stop, a lot of people have gotten hit on this side of the road.”
Other funding possibilities include VIA Metropolitan Transit’s push to add express bus service from Alamo Ranch to downtown San Antonio and the Texas Department of Transportation’s proposal to expand its HERO motorist assistance program to other parts of the region. VIA is also requesting funding to replace its older diesel buses with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses.
After the 27th, MPO staff will collect the input and coming up with a final list of projects to be slated for recommendations.
“The criteria that is considered includes a technical score, the public input that we get, what an agency’s priority is, and also project readiness, the projects that we hope to see get under way and constructed in the next four to six years,” Blazosky said.
Equity will also be considered for the first time as officials consider the geographic distribution of projects and what sorts of populations are being served.
The Alamo Area MPO Transportation Policy Board will make a final decision later in the year.
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