Wednesday, July 26

Mail bag: Is TxDOT involved with the Cibolo Parkway project?

This edition will address a single question we've gotten because, well, we've gotten the question a few times and it will take a bit to clearly respond. That question revolves around the proposed Cibolo Parkway, a locally funded project in Cibolo. The question goes something like this:

Why is a toll road happening in Cibolo and why is TxDOT involved with it?
- some folks from the Cibolo area

There are a few issues implied in the question, and it'll take some doing to answer it completely. We'll take it one issue at a time.

It's not our project
The Texas Department of Transportation is not providing any funds for this project. TxDOT is not providing design consultation, or design services for this project. TxDOT is not providing feasibility studies for this project. TxDOT is not requesting the city of Cibolo to do this project. TxDOT is not providing construction inspection or engineering services for this project. TxDOT is not providing any project oversight on this project. TxDOT is not involved wiht the development of this project in any way. There is no other way we can be more clear - the proposed local project known as the Cibolo Parkway is not a TxDOT project and TxDOT has no involvement with its development.
Who is involved, then? The city of Cibolo. And ... well ... that's pretty much it.

Connection to FM 1103
Any new roads or driveways proposing to connect to any state-maintained road requires TxDOT approval per the Texas Administrative Code. The current proposed path of the Cibolo Parkway would indeed connect with FM 1103 and the Texas Transportation Commission would need to approve the connection.
When the city submits a complete proposal, including all geometric schematics, the Texas Transportation Commission will review and consider for approval connection to the state system (here meaning FM 1103).
This is no different than the connection of any other road to the state system and should not imply TxDOT affiliation with the proposed project any more than TxDOT would be affiliated with a private development connecting a major collector road to the state system.

FM 1103 expansion
Some have claimed the proposed expansion of FM 1103 is tantamount to TxDOT subsidization of the proposed Cibolo Parkway.
Frankly we're not sure how those making this claim reach such a conclusion. While do have a proposed expansion to FM 1103 - after all, it's our responsibility to maintain and develop roads on the current state highway system - this proposal is entirely independent of the proposed local project and planning for the expansion predates the city's proposal. Even the city's web page on the Cibolo Parkway project notes we identified a need to expand FM 1103 at least a decade ago, though TxDOT denied at the time local requests to extend FM 1103 to I-10. This denial came because of challenges with funding and a concern over right-of-way acquisition.
What we have in mind is a $25 million expansion that will make FM 1103 a four-lane road with center medians, sidewalks and shoulders allowing for safe bike riding. This project extends between I-35 and Rodeo Way and is currently targeted for a late 2019/early 2020 start. Funding for the FM 1103 expansion comes from a combination of local contributions and traditional state funds.
This work follows the expansion of the FM 1103 bridge over I-35 (a project that kicked off just last week).

MPO role
The Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, which coordinates the entirety of transportation planning efforts in the region, has included the proposed Cibolo Parkway as a privately funded project in its transportation plan. While TxDOT does have a seat at the table with the MPO, inclusion of the project in the MPO transportation plan doesn't mean TxDOT has any actual link to the project.
In fact inclusion on the transportation plan doesn't even obligate any MPO funds (which do include TxDOT resources). The project does not have any allocated state or federal funds in the 10-year plan of the MPO. All claims to the contrary are simply incorrect.