Texas eyeing driverless lanes

SAN ANTONIO — Bexar County officials are hoping to someday construct lanes for driverless automated vehicles on the Austin-to-San Antonio section of Interstate 35.

County Commissioner Kevin Wolff said a meeting he had recently in Washington with federal transportation officials about such lanes was positive.

“This is the first proposal of its kind in the nation that I’m aware of,” Wolff said. “And when the feds heard about it, they told me, ‘This is just the kind of proposal we want to fund.’”

The 95-mile stretch of eight-lane highway, one of the nation’s most congested traffic corridors, is already scheduled for an $8 billion expansion to add four “managed lanes” by 2025.

Wolff wants to make two of those four lanes designed for driverless vehicles — one in each direction from the Williamson County line in far north Austin to downtown San Antonio.

He said he hopes his proposal can tap into an estimated $200 billion in infrastructure funding that has been proposed by the Trump administration, but that plan has yet to make it through Congress.

“Department of Transportation officials told me they have targeted about $20 billion of that total for ‘innovative’ transportation ideas,” Wolff said.

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