Mayor Nirenberg appeals to Congress for aid in curbing I-35 congestion
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg told Congress today that Texas needs help from Washington to prevent the worsening highway congestion in the San Antonio- Austin corridor from stifling growth in a region he called “America’s next great metropolis.”
“We have all the elements of a successful metro economy - world-class universities, an educated and expanding workforce, a burgeoning tech community, relatively affordable land, a business-friendly environment,” he said. “Current congestion risks this growth coming to a grinding halt.”
Nirenberg delivered his testimony to the House Transportation Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. The panel is beginning the task of reauthorizing the nation’s five-year transportation bill, which expires next year.
Nirenberg was testifying in front of Congress for the first time since he was elected mayor in 2017. He also was representing the National League of Cities, which is pressing Congress for a new and modern way of dealing with transportation rather than the recent stop-gap approach of emergency budget bills.
“We believe that investing in infrastructure should be Congress’s top priority this year,” he said.
Nirenberg said he hopes Congress will give priority to achieving “regional mobility” in areas like San Antonio. He said Congress needs to understand that transportation is changing swiftly with innovations such as ride-sharing and e-scooters.
He remarked that the fast-growing stretch of the I-35 corridor from San Antonio to Austin by 2040 “will exceed or rival Dallas-Fort Worth.”
He said that a regional rail line holds promise but that “we need a federal partner that invests in regional connectivity to expand our economy.”