Travis County Commissioners approve SH-45 expansion - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Travis County Commissioners approve SH-45 expansion

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Travis County Commissioners approved a new toll road that would give drivers another alternative to I-35.

The project is called SH-45 southwest. It would connect the southern point of Mopac to FM 1626 in Hays County.

The total cost is $70 to $100 million with Travis County paying $15 million and Hays County putting up $5 million.

The toll road would go through the Edwards Aquifer-charge zone. Environmentalists have fought against this for decades.

"We're playing dice with the Edwards Aquifer. We're playing dice with Barton Springs. We're not going to make more water. We're not going to make a new aquifer. If we lose Barton Springs, it's gone forever," said David Foster of Clean Water Action.

"If you've got a state partner willing to cap Travis County's financial risk and take the enforceable responsibility for environmental responsibility for an environmental protection at the highest level. It would be nuts to turn that down and wait a year and see if those state partners are still there," former county commissioner Bill Aleshire said.

The initial payment will be $2.5 million due in June. The remainder will be paid in October. The environmental study is underway.  If an issue is found and the project is cancelled, the money will be refunded.

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