Next Century Cities is a national city-to-city coalition of more than 120 member communities committed to delivering the benefits of fast, affordable, reliable broadband to all residents and businesses. Mayor Adler, one of the 44 undersigned local government leaders from Next Century Cities member communities wrote in support of the Commission’s work to modernize Lifeline to support broadband connectivity. Lifeline modernization will benefit our community members and help us tackle the pressing but rewarding challenges of local governance. See NCC Lifeline Letter
Mayor Adler reflects on 2015, lays out goals for 2016
In our first year under the new 10-1 form of government, your Austin City Council set high goals for what we could accomplish in the first year. We are proud to have made real progress toward improving Austin for everyone. We’re looking forward to an even more productive 2016.
See the full list here.
I wanted to catch you up on what we’ve been up to during the holidays.
First, some good news from Washington — really
We all know that IH-35 through downtown Austin is the worst road in town, and one of the worst in Texas. For years – decades even – the best advice we could give newcomers is how to get around Austin while avoiding IH-35. And as the years go by and more and more people move here, IH-35 gets more and more congested. All of a sudden, the road ahead looks a little better. Just this week, the President signed a new five-year highway bill that provides $305 billion for highways, transit, freight, Amtrak, and passenger rail programs. Even better, the bill, called the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (“FAST”) Act, increases money available for highways and reserves a bigger portion of that funding for larger cities like Austin. In other words, right when Austin needs it the most, we are eligible for a bigger slice of a bigger pie for our biggest problem – IH-35.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Diane and I are with our girls this week and it doesn’t get any better than that. We hope you’re having a wonderful week as well.
If your family is like mine, we all take time during our Thanksgiving dinner first to express our gratitude for the blessings we enjoy. And then the family debates begin: politics, boyfriends, the Dallas Cowboys’ personnel decisions, more politics – nothing is out of bounds! But, there is one thing on which we’ll all agree this year: Traffic on IH-35 in downtown Austin is the worst.
As in, literally the worst. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute says IH-35 through downtown Austin is the most congested roadway in Texas, and we’re a pretty big state. We’re not the worst in the country, though. IH-35 in Austin is only the ninth-worst Thanksgiving traffic in the country according to Google maps and the 10th-worst bottleneck in the country according to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. By any measure, we’ve got a problem aching for solutions.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that we all agree that we need to do something about it. If congestion on IH-35 is the biggest, hairiest mobility problem we have in Austin, the shared community consensus that we need to deal with it is a blessing. There are many things people in Austin disagree on; this is not one of them.
Great cities do big things, and in the coming weeks and months you’re going to hear about ways to get traffic on IH-35 moving. Agreeing that we need to do something is an important step, but it’s only a step.
We’re already making some progress on IH-35. Last week I voted on CAMPO for much-needed improvements along IH-35 at Oltorf and at 51st Street. And I have challenged Austin businesses to reduce their employees’ commutes by 20% during peak hours, something we’ve already accomplished here at City Hall. Senator Watson is providing important leadership at the State level even as I write.
These efforts, while useful, will not by themselves fix the traffic problem on IH-35 in Austin, but there is a silver lining. With all the things that your family might debate over Thanksgiving dinner, at least we can all agree that traffic on IH-35 has gotten so bad that we really do need to do something about it. So, be thankful and pass the pie.