281 North Improvement Project
A bigger, better, faster US 281 – with NO tolls!
For more than 10 years our community tried to find a solution to improve US 281 north of Loop 1604. With limited funding available, it looked like the only solution would involve toll lanes. All that changed in 2015.
Today, the Texas Department of Transportation is preparing the design of a completely non-tolled US 281, with construction expected to begin in 2017. Here’s how we got to this point.
1 – Completing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
On October 1, 2008, the Federal Highway Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation withdrew all prior environmental clearances for any long-term improvements to US 281 north of Loop 1604. The Alamo RMA immediately took the lead in preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for US 281 in order to prepare the most comprehensive analysis ever conducted on the US 281 corridor. That study was completed and a final Record of Decision was issued in July 2015, giving environmental clearance to improvements on US 281.
2 – Texas Legislature proposes additional funding to the state highway fund
In 2015, the Texas Legislature proposed a constitutional amendment (Proposition 7) dedicating a portion of the revenue derived from the state sales and use tax and the tax imposed on the sale, use, or rental of a motor vehicle to the state highway fund. If approved, an estimated $2.5 billion could be added to the state highway fund.
3 – Bexar County and the Alamo RMA request additional money for US 281
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff and Alamo Regional Mobility Authority Chairman John Clamp asked TxDOT to dedicate a portion of the funding that would be added to the state’s highway fund if voters approved Proposition 7 so that US 281 could be completed without toll lanes. Speaker of the House Joe Straus, State Senator Donna Campbell, and State Representative Lyle Larson supported that request.
4 – Alamo Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) agrees to dedicate funds to US 281
With support from local partner agencies, the MPO Policy Board unanimously approved a resolution on September 14, 2015 allocating Proposition 7 funds (if approved by voters) to complete US 281 without tolls, while retaining a HOV/Transit Priority lane contingent upon the Texas Transportation Commission action to remove the tolled component from the project.
5 – Texas Transportation Commission removes tolls from US 281 plans
On September 24, 2015, the Texas Transportation Commission voted to remove the toll lane configuration from the US 281 North Improvement Project.
6 – Voters approve Proposition 7
On November 3, 2015, Texas voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 7, dedicating a portion of the revenue derived from the state sales and use tax and the tax imposed on the sale, use, or rental of a motor vehicle to the state highway fund.
7 – TxDOT starts work to build US 281 without tolls
With funding in place, and approval to build US 281 with no tolls, but still including an HOV/Transit Priority lane, TxDOT selected a design team on December 10, 2015 to complete plans for US 281 from Loop 1604 to Stone Oak Parkway. Construction is expected to begin in 2017.