Speak Now Please!  Together We Can Save Our Hill Country Future, Not Pave It!

It’s truly amazing how much our Hill Country community of Hays, Blanco and Gillespie counties have come together to oppose Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway pipeline.  Uniting against this existential, external threat has brought us together to stand up for our rights for clean water and to protect the health and safety of our families and the beautiful Hill Country land that we love.

Now we need to unite against another existential threat to our Hill Country rivers, springs, and way of life here in Hays County.  This threat is home grown.

It’s our very own Hays County Transportation Plan. Adopted in January 2013, it calls for a vast network of new highways in the Blanco and Onion Creek watersheds: a new loop around Wimberley; a new loop around western San Marcos;  a new loop around Dripping Springs; and RR 12, RM 1826 and FM 150 converted into 4 and 6 lane divided highways.  The 2013 plan would expand virtually every existing FM, RM, RR, and CR in western Hays County.

See the TESPA and WVWA  Statement on CAMPO 2045 for Hays County Commissioners submitted on 4/28/2020.







Updated CAMPO 2045 Map and Chart

The estimated price tag:  over $1.1 billion of new pavement in the Blanco River watershed of western Hays County alone.

And why would we do this?  Well, our CAMPO transportation planners, who are set to re-adopt the Hays County 2013 road plan as part of the new CAMPO 2045 long-range regional plan at their May 4 meeting believe that population in western Hays County will grow by more than 400% over the 2015 to 2045 period.  They think we need to pave the countryside to accommodate this pending population explosion here in the hills.

However, actual growth trends of the last 20 years for western Hays County would result in only a 55% population increase over the 2015 to 2045 period.  (See the actual demographic growth trends versus CAMPO projections here.)

This path forward—the one we are actually on—does not require paving our hills at enormous taxpayer expense.  For a fraction of the cost, we can make the safety improvements we need for those of us who live here, for visitors, and for the newcomers who will move here wanting the same clean water, clean air, and scenic Hill Country that we do.

We can spend another fraction of our savings on permanently protecting more of our land with conservation easements, parks, and open spaces – exactly what our county is working on with the recently established Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission.

Hays County hays posted an action item for next Tuesday’s Commissioners’ Court meeting that would have the County revise and update the 2013 Transportation Plan, with an eye towards focusing county transportation investments on the I-35 corridor, downstream of the Edwards Aquifer and scaling back and removing unneeded road projects in western Hays County.  If approved by the County Commissioners next Tuesday, the resolution would also give direction to support a vision to prevent sprawl development over the Edwards and Trinity Aquifer Recharge Zones in Western Hays County towards a different, more sustainable vision for Hays County and development of a County wide Land,Water and Transportation Plan.

But our County Judge and Commissioners need to hear from us!!  San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson, who is a member of the CAMPO regional board, also needs to hear from us.  Mayor Hughson and Hays County Commissioner Mark Jones of Kyle are the two Hays County voting members on the CAMPO Board.

So, please take a few minutes to join with us in sending a message to the entire 23 member CAMPO board and be sure to send an email or call Judge Becerra, our Hays County Commissioners, Mayor Hughson, and the entire CAMPO Board

judge.becerra@co.hays.tx.us  (512) 393-2205

mark.jones@co.hays.tx.us   (512) 262-2091

jhughson@sanmarcostx.gov  512-393-8091

debbiei@co.hays.tx.us  (512) 393-2243

lon.shell@co.hays.tx.us (512) 847-3159

walt.smith@co.hays.tx.us (512) 858-7268

Ask them to remove from our county and regional plans these unneeded and harmful projects: the extension of Jacob’s Well Road, from FM 2325 to Wayside Drive; the extension of Wayside Drive across the Blanco River; a western loop around San Marcos; an extension of FM 150 west of RR 12; a loop around Dripping Springs; and an extension of Escarpment Boulevard in Travis County all the way down to FM 150.

You can see all of these projects in the Hays County plan map here.  You can see the road projects in the context of the Edwards Aquifer, watershed boundaries, and protected lands, along with a chart of each project and its estimated cost here.)

Ask them to scale back the proposed conversion of FM 150, RR 12 and RM 1826 into 4 and 6 lane divided highways.  These roads can be improved with center and side turn lanes, shoulders, and bike lanes.  If lane additions are needed, they should be to the existing road, not as part of major divided highway project.

And ask them to designate all of our western Hays County roads as “Hill Country Conservation” roads, where safety, scenic beauty, and watershed protection will be the priorities, not capacity expansion.

We are so thankful for our Hays County Commissioners taking swift action to revoke Kinder Morgan’s permits to bore under our county roads until Kinder Morgan decides to move the Permian Highway Pipeline or the can show their work can be done safely without polluting our aquifers and drinking water supply.

In light of the scheduled CAMPO May 4 vote, we need them to act equally as swiftly to protect our water, land and way of life from road projects we don’t need, can’t afford, and would do more harm than good.

Please send your message to our elected officials  before Tuesday’s 9:00 a.m April 28th before the next Commissioners’ Court meeting.

Thank you for your advocacy to protect our water and support Hays County Commissioners to develop a county wide Land, Water, Transportation Plan that is guided by a more sustainable vision for our region and focused on natural resource conservation.

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