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Former Mayors, Neighborhoods Sue Over MoPac Extension

Environmental concerns cited

Some political fights make strange bedfellows, and the MoPac (Loop 1) extension battle is certainly a prime example of that truism. On Friday the Austin Monitor reported some interesting alliances along those lines.

Planned improvements to the highway, which cuts an often bumper-to-bumper swath through the western side of Austin, include adding an express lane in each direction from Cesar Chavez Street to Parmer Lane, according to the project website. Construction already under way has already proved much predictable consternation.

Former mayors Frank Cooksey (a liberal by any measure) and Carole Keeton (whom one could call both Republican and notorious) have joined with neighborhood and environmental groups and individual activists—some of whom have been involved in such fights for decades—to sue the Texas Department of Transportation and the Central Texas Mobility Authority over the extension, reports the Monitor.

According to the website, those suing include a slew longstanding Austin environmental activists and groups—"100-year-old environmental activist Shudde Fath, Jerry Jeff and Susan Walker, conservation biologist and endangered-salamander expert Laurie Dries, the Save Barton Creek Association, the Save Our Springs Alliance, the Friendship Alliance of Northern Hays County, the MoPac Corridor Neighbors’ Alliance and Clean Water Action," it reports.

The site reports that plaintiffs argue that the phased implementation of the extension plan has resulted in a number of limited environmental studies that don't measure comprehensively the impact of the project as a whole. The accused parties can opt to do a comprehensive study or fight the lawsuit, it adds.