During a recent public meeting where the Cibolo Expressway and Cibolo Parkway was discussed, there were several comments made which we would like to address. Most of these responses and information provided have been available on our project website or on the city’s website for some time. For your convenience, we are providing links to this public information including recordings, agreements, maps, and other information, that has been available to the public on the Project website, the Alamo Area MPO website, and on the City of Cibolo’s website (www.cibolotx.gov).
Statements we would like to specifically clarify are noted below:
- It was stated that on May 22, 2017, the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (AAMPO) added the Cibolo Parkway and Expressway to their funded projects list and that the Cibolo Parkway Project was deemed to be a four-lane project. The design of the project was never discussed in any AAMPO meeting, nor was the design approved as a two-lane or four-lane project by AAMPO. It was simply designated as a funded project. (http://alamoareampo.swagit.com/play/05222017-646)
It should also be noted, that the final unanimous recommendation by the Blue-Ribbon Committee to the Cibolo City Council, did not stipulate that the Cibolo Parkway be four lanes. Nor does the executed Development Agreement stipulate that the Cibolo Expressway be a four-lane road.
- It has been stated that an “environmental report” was submitted containing information not pertinent to the Cibolo Parkway Project. The report submitted to the City of Cibolo was actually draft sections of the environmental study provided at their request. These sections also contained placeholders for yet to be determined sections as no onsite inspections had occurred at that time. The final environmental report is currently being completed and will be available to the city upon completion. The explanation for the preliminary report being submitted to the city was clarified in October 2018 on the project’s website: (http://ciboloparkway.org/updates/october-15-2018/).
- There have been claims that the alignment of the road has never been decided or provided to the public. The City of Cibolo’s alignment of the road has been on the project website for over a year and a half and is specifically identified in Exhibit 1 of the original Development Agreement between the City of Cibolo and the Texas Turnpike Corporation (TTC), which was executed on March 10, 2017. The alignment has not been changed since then, nor has it been contemplated. (https://www.cibolotx.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1360/Cover-Memo-Dev-Agree?bidId=)
As for citizens being aware of the extension of FM 1103 to Interstate 10, the FM 1103 extension has been a part of the city’s Thoroughfare Plan since 2007, which is public information. This was seven years before TTC was invited to visit with the City of Cibolo about this project. (https://www.cibolotx.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1123/01-Cibolo-Parkway-Executive-Summary—April-2016?bidId=)
- It was mentioned that the project was not being designed to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) standards and would be using asphalt to construct the roadway. The Cibolo Parkway Project is and has always been designed to TxDOT standards with concrete road surfaces as specified in the Development Agreement.
- Claims have been made that representatives of the project have used “strong arm” tactics against property owners and that the owners were being coerced into stating that they were willing to negotiate the sale of their property. During the July 2018 City Enhancement Subcommittee meeting, TTC was asked by the Mayor and other council subcommittee members to obtain confirmation that landowners were willing to negotiate for the sale of their property at a fair price. Consequently, that language was included and attached to the right-of-entry (ROE) form which our Right-of-Way firm, Cobb Fendley, presented to landowners of which 73%, representing 81% of the Right-of-Way, executed. Cobb Fendley has been in business since 1980 and has been doing Right-of-Way work since 1994. They do work for several state Departments of Transportation (DOTs), including TxDOT and they enjoy a reputation of conducting their business in a professional manner.
- It has been stated that TTC has changed the Cibolo Parkway Project design from what was originally proposed. In the Blue-Ribbon Committee meetings on May 2, 2016 and April 13, 2016, TTC stated that it would ultimately follow the estimates of the Investment Grade Traffic Study, which Stantec produced at a cost of $963,914. Same as TxDOT, TTC is following the recommended estimates of the investment grade report which will allow for traffic to flow safely at 70 miles per hour. The road is being designed and right of way acquired to ultimately accommodate four lanes of traffic when demand requires it, estimated to be some time after 2040. A copy of Stantec’s Investment Grade Traffic Study was supplied to the city in May of 2018 and has been available for review.
- Concern has been raised by some regarding the methodology used by TTC to determine project feasibility and design. TTC is using the same process to determine the roadway design as any other highway project in the State of Texas. The Cibolo City Council unanimously approved the execution of the Development Agreement to construct the Cibolo Parkway and Expressway. The Development Agreement does not specify that the Cibolo Parkway be a four-lane road, as the initial design was to be determined by the investment grade traffic study. This is how state DOTs determine what size road to build in order to move traffic efficiently and safely. The Parkway design allows for expansion to four lanes when traffic flow warrants additional lanes, which is projected to be some time after 2040. As posted on the website, Stantec produced the investment grade report and is the same firm TxDOT and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) used to do their investment grade studies for State Highway 130 (Segments 1-4), 183A, 290E and 71E.
- Assertions have been made that firms working on the project are not fully qualified. All professional firms working on the project have, and do, work for TxDOT, as well as, DOTs around the country. Links to all consultants are and have been available on the project’s web site and all have proven track records. (http://ciboloparkway.org/project-team/)
- Assertions have been made as to not only “IF the project fails” but “WHEN it fails”, the City of Cibolo would be liable for the road and all associated costs. Some have inferred Cibolo will be financially burdened with a bankrupt toll road, yet have not cited one example where that has occurred to a city that has no financial obligations for a project. Cibolo’s Blue-Ribbon Committee addressed this very concern prior to endorsing the pursuit of the project. If a private toll road project was to go bankrupt, typically and historically, the bankrupt toll road sells at discount on the open market. The original lenders and investors bear the loss, not the city or state. A recent example of a toll road “failing” and selling at a discount is the sale of Sections 5 and 6 of SH 130 to a venture lead by Strategic Value Partners, with no financial burdens of any kind being assumed by any city, county, municipality or the State.