SAN ANTONIO – We’re getting more details on a county lawmaker’s cutting-edge proposal for driverless cars on I-35 between San Antonio and Austin.
Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff says he recently met with leaders in Washington, D.C., to discuss it.
It’s the fastest-growing corridor in the nation. But as drivers are well aware, it’s congested, with wrecks often backing up traffic for miles.
“If we can get that commute time between San Antonio and Austin to an hour or less, we take two competitors and turn them into a region of over five million people that really bring the muscle and power to bring in the Amazons of the world, and other companies,” says Commissioner Wolff.
His idea hinges on a massive transportation bill Congress is expected to tackle later this year. Projects considered innovative will be rewarded with more federal money.
The I-35 corridor already has a shovel-ready project to add four lanes between the cities. Commissioner Wolff proposes changing the plan for two of those lanes.
“And designating them as the first fully autonomous lanes in the nation,” he says, likely for freight and mass transportation.
He’s working with transportation leaders in Austin to get companies on the forefront of driverless cars involved.
“What I’m proposing to do is hold an event here,” Commissioner Wolff says. “Technology companies, you’re the experts in it. Come and tell us, the people who are going to be responsible for building the infrastructure that you want to use tomorrow: is there anything that we can do today that’s going to make your technology of tomorrow better?”
The big unknown, of course, is if technology will advance that far by the time we’re ready to build next decade. The Commissioner says the extra lanes could still be used for traditional cars, or even new technology like bus rapid transit.
We’ll let you know if Congress picks this plan.
Article originally published by News 4 San Antonio – Emily Baucum