The populations of the San Antonio and Austin areas are merging along the Interstate 35 corridor. The cultural, economic and political implications of this coming convergence will be enormous.
A recent survey by the U.S. Census Bureau found that New Braunfels was the second-fastest growing city in the United States. Pflugerville is No. 11. Previously, San Marcos had been the fastest-growing city in the country. Georgetown claimed that spot in the latest survey.
In addition, the economies of San Antonio and Austin complement one another far more than they overlap.
In other words, we have the makings of a mega-regional economy that could rival the Metroplex of Dallas and Fort Worth, and any other major corridor in the country.
To realize this potential — which would mean more jobs and a higher quality of life throughout the region — I have partnered with Austin Mayor Steve Adler and the mayors of other cities along the I-35 corridor. Our goal is to supercharge education partnerships between our two regions, as well as collaborations in tourism, the cybersecurity and cloud-computing industries, and advanced manufacturing — and to do so in a way that protects our natural resources and the environment.
Most important, our objective is to change the way we think about the future of our cities. We must recognize that the global economy rewards regional cooperation with trade and jobs, and that we can reach this goal without surrendering our San Antonio and Austin identities.
The Taco War notwithstanding, I believe that the age-old rivalry between our two cities is already beginning to give way to cooperation.
San Antonio and Austin are currently collaborating on several fronts. We are working:
with the U.S. Defense and Commerce departments to increase the role of automation in manufacturing.
with Amtrak to discuss intercity passenger rail solutions.
with the Hill Country Alliance to develop regional strategies to protect the landscapes and resources that make our region unique.
between our cities to coordinate long-range planning for regional facilities such as a potential international airport between San Antonio and Austin.
Last year, Mayor Adler and I convened a working group consisting of the mayors of the largest corridor cities, representatives of our respective city councils, regional planning organizations, and staff. District 9 City Councilman Joe Krier helped make this venture a reality.
We’re moving ahead with our work with the understanding that San Antonio will never be Austin, and Austin will never be San Antonio. We are looking at the areas where it makes sense to collaborate, especially in transportation infrastructure. We also want to benefit from one another’s strengths and expertise.
San Marcos and New Braunfels also are eager to preserve their charm and heritage while capitalizing on local resources and strengthening their economies.
Each of our cities has its own wonderful essence. Taken together, we are the core of an urban region that will help shape the future of Texas and our nation in the years to come.
Ivy R. Taylor is mayor of San Antonio.
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.
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