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Cooperative Effort Will Fund Hwy 281 Expansion Without Toll Lanes

Chris Eudaily
TPR News

In a ceremony at the Bexar County Courthouse Wednesday morning, state and local officials came together to announce details of the joint funding agreement that will fun construction of Highway 281 north – without using toll lanes.

"Be sure and get out and vote - and vote for Proposition 7," Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff urged those in attendance at the announcement. Without the $300 million in transportation funds from that vote, it would be back to the drawing board for the Hwy 281 project.

The Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization voted this week to use that Prop. 7 money to build out the highway to the Comal County line and take toll lanes out of the plan.

MPO Chairman Ray Lopez says the board is aware that Comal and some of the other communities recently taken into the transportation region will have projects they wanted to see completed with some of that money.

"They're absolutely right. Some special consideration is going to have to be made because we basically are redirecting about $300 million if we get Prop 7 money that ultimately would be in that total funding stream," Lopez said. "However, it doesn't mean those projects will be taken off the list. It simply means that there will be a one-year delay in some of those projects."

At this point, Lopez says the MPO doesn’t know the specific projects Comal County and others had in mind for the funding, but the MPO is responsible to those communities to get their priority projects funded in subsequent years.

The U.S. Hwy 281 project is already partially funded to the tune of $228 million – through county, city of San Antonio, federal and state funds. Ground breaking is expected in 2017 on Phase 1 with completion in two years, and Phase 2 would be completed two years after that.