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Growth of a city calls for choices to be made, and given its rapid pace, Austin’s growth requires smart solutions. The void created by an insufficient transit system creates the need for more people to drive to work/school. This in turn generates a greater need for wider roads and more lanes for people to drive on. On the 30th of November, 2017, the Texas Department of Transportation announced its plans to lower I-35 in Downtown Austin and add two managed lanes in each direction. The project would have allowed for faster commutes for some of the north- or southbound drivers, provided they chose to pay variable toll rates. This, in the longer run, would have generated substantial revenue for TxDOT but failed to promote east/west connectivity and to solve the traffic congestion problem Austin is dealing with today. There has been a lot of political involvement in the decision-making processes, because of which we do not know if TxDOT plans on rethinking the project. This project, as per Architect, Planner and Urban Designer, Sinclair Black’s Vision, revolves around addressing the primary issue of congestion and emphasizing on how through smarter and farsighted solutions, we can advance towards a more prosperous Austin. The key solutions include depressing and capping the highway, reclaiming valuable downtown land and returning it to the City of Austin for revenue generating real estate development. This will reconnect the city grid, minimize congestion, diminish pollution, and provide dedicated public transit corridor lowering overall commute times. This project largely focuses on estimating the taxable property and the property taxes generated through the deployment of this idea.
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