County Commissioners Approve Fast-Tracked Road Project
With three votes and two abstentions, Travis County Commissioners on Tuesday approved an expedited but scaled-down road construction plan proposed by Commissioner Margaret Gómez for her Southeast Travis County precinct. The controversial plan calls for extending Kellam Road from Pearce to SH 71, providing an entrance to the Circuit of the Americas racetrack. The $13 million cost estimate for the project comes without voter consent, and as such the county has been accused of making taxpayers pick up the tab for a project that primarily and directly benefits the privately operated Formula One COTA facility.
Commissioners decided to punt on a second road proposal near the COTA site, which would have fast-tracked the widening of Elroy Road. Instead, that project becomes part of a regional transportation review process. How did the vote go? County Judge Sam Biscoe and Commissioner Gerald Daugherty provided Gómez with the votes needed to secure the Kellam extension. Ron Davis and Bruce Todd abstained. Todd had proposed forming a stakeholder group to review the Kellam Road proposal prior to a vote, but that motion failed.