San Antonio approves switch in road maintenance

By January 31, 2014 July 29th, 2014 No Comments

San Antonio Express News 1/30/14 10:02pm

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio City Council voted Thursday to enter into an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation to take responsibility for parts of nine roads now maintained by the state.

The city will take over 21.8 miles of roads, including sections of Broadway, San Pedro and Culebra.

The measure passed 10 to 1; Mike Gallagher, who was appointed Thursday to replace outgoing District 10 Councilman Carlton Soules, abstained.

The deal comes with a number of provisos. The city has asked TxDOT to:

Reconstruct a stretch of Broadway as a “complete” street, one that accommodates pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles;

Give the city 4,500 square feet of additional space at the TxDOT TransGuide facility;

Formally cede TxDOT property to the city that’s necessary for the convention center expansion;

Provide $250,000 to improve Military Drive near Lackland AFB;

Provide $150,000 for a Wurzbach Parkway study.

The agreement also requires TxDOT to repair all of the roads before they are turned over to the city, which estimates it will pay $2.5 million annually to maintain them.

The Texas Transportation Commission, TxDOT’s governing board, still has to approve the deal.

Last summer, TxDOT asked cities and counties across Texas to participate in the so-called “turnback program,” a request that reflected the increasing reliance on local governments to tackle the state’s own transportation needs.

TxDOT originally asked San Antonio to consider taking over 129 miles of roads, but the city rejected that because it could have cost an additional $18 million a year in maintenance.

But negotiations continued as TxDOT and other local entities solidified plans for $825 million to improve parts of U.S. 281, Loop 1604 and Interstate 10, projects that will include the addition of toll lanes to U.S. 281 and I-10. As part of that deal, TxDOT officials again asked the city to reconsider the turnback deal.

“This is a significant enhancement forward in terms of transportation infrastructure in our city,” said Mayor Julián Castro.

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