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Newsletter: 281 Expansion Moving Forward

Last week, our community took a key step toward improving mobility for commuters, families, and businesses who use Highway 281.

The Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, which addresses transportation issues across our region, voted to scrap plans to use tolls to add lanes on 281 between 1604 and the county line. Instead, local leaders hope to add those lanes using revenue that we in the Legislature recently made available.

The expansion of 281 has been in the works for more than a decade. But transportation dollars have been difficult to come by in recent years, so state and local officials planned to pay for the expansion with toll bonds. What changed? Over the last two legislative sessions, we in the Texas House have made funding for transportation a top priority. We redirected to roads some of the money that was heading into our Rainy Day Fund, and we ended diversions of the gas tax. And this year, we approved what will appear on the ballot in November as Proposition 7, a plan to dedicate a portion of our state sales tax to transportation improvements.

With these new sources of revenue available, other legislators and I have been working with the MPO to remove the plans for tolls on 281. And that's what members of the MPO voted to support this week. They said that, if voters approve Proposition 7, they want to move forward with the 281 expansion without tolls. And state transportation leaders could take a similar vote in the weeks ahead.

This decision illustrates how important it is to support Proposition 7 on November 3rd. But it also makes a couple of other things clear. First, the Texas Legislature is delivering responsible, tangible results that support economic growth and improve our quality of life. And secondly, local and state officials are working together for the good of San Antonio and the people we represent here.

I'm proud of this effort and hope that you are too. And I look forward to seeing you at the polls to support Proposition 7.