A panel of local leaders discussed the regional growth and its impact on transportation around the greater San Marcos area.
The San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce and Greater San Marcos Partnership hosted the annual Transportation Summit at the San Marcos Conference Center on Thursday. Ashby Johnson, Executive Director of Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, moderated a panel featuring Laurie Moyer, Director of Engineering for City of San Marcos; Scott Sellers, City Manager for City of Kyle; Kenneth Williams, City Manager for City of Buda; and Doug Wilson, CEO for SH-130 Concession Company.
Moyer began the conversation, discussing the San Marcos Transportation Corridors Study, which aims to improve connectivity, safety, and mobility along key transportation corridors and activity centers in San Marcos. The corridors include Guadalupe Street (State Highway 123), Hopkins Street (State Highway 80) and a potential north/south thoroughfare east of Interstate 35.
“We’re really at the point toward the end of this study where we have had some good constructive discussions with Hays County, with CAMPO and the City of San Marcos and the developers to come up with a solution of how are we going to make these [corridors] tie together,” Moyer said. “Many times when you have a rapidly growing area like we do, you need to bring that development community into that discussion so they know what they’re planning.”
Sellers spoke about the rapid growth Kyle has seen from having a population of 5,000 in 2000 to around 60,000 in 2022, and its effects on transportation.
“Twenty years ago, we didn’t have plans for the city, now we have a full transportation master plan, water plan, wastewater plan, etc. We finally have control of our destiny,” Sellers said. “But what we found was that the unfunded liability is incredible. Citizens are expecting not just health, safety and welfare when they get here but also infrastructure, quality of life, jobs. Everything kind of comes together at once.”
Moyer was later asked about what some of the top priorities that City of San Marcos would like to address.
“I know one of the things that’s occurring in San Marcos that’s wonderful is we’re moving forward with an integrated transit system with Texas State, which provides opportunities to maximize our federal obligations for performance and it allows us to increase the opportunities for people to use transit by expanding services,” Moyer said. “But as I think as we move forward, looking at ways to improve transportation as we grow … The first one is we need to have alternate modes of transportation … The second is we need to have alternative routes.”
Sellers spoke about innovations the City of Kyle is making regarding public transportation.
“We’ve partnered with Uber,” Sellers said. “Uber is our public transportation system. And so, the city subsidizes all of the rides … It’s a private-sector solution to a public sector issue. The second one is we are creating a trail system over 80 miles of trails throughout the city. These are not just standard recreational trails but because we’re talking about transportation alternatives, this is a 12-foot-wide concrete trail to make the city accessible to every neighborhood.”
Thursday’s summit also featured a panel conversation between moderator Jim Carrillo, Halff Associates and panelists Cassie Frow, Amazon General Manager; Robert Carrillo, Vice President and Director of Transportation for Rodriguez Transportation Group, Inc.; Willie Semora, South Travis Area Engineer for Texas Department of Transportation; and Burt Wellmann, Director of Residential Services for KFW Engineers & Surveying.
Ed Mortimer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spoke virtually as the keynote speaker where he highlighted efforts to pass President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill. He also spoke on supply chain issues facing the nation.