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    The Southwest Metroplex

    In 30 years, San Antonio and Austin could become one mega city

    The forces that brought together Dallas and Fort Worth to create the Metroplex are a harbinger of things to come in the southwest corner of the Texas Triangle. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Dr. Robert Lang of the Metropolitan Institue at Virginia Tech has determined that DFW was the earliest example of what he calls a megapolitan region.

    Such regions are charactertized by having two or more core cities, separated geographically, but sharing a cloud of interacting and interrelating communities. Lang estimates that in the coming years, this very same process will result in the merging of the metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) of San Antonio and Austin-Round Rock into a single metroplex. (Other such agglomerations around the U.S. include Phoenix-Tucson; Washington, D.C. and Richmond; Orland and Tampa; Los Angeles and San Diego.)

    Separated by just 85 miles, the two core cities will grow together to such a degree that by 2040 the two metros will essentially one continguous urban region, known as a consolidated metropolitan statistical areas (CMSA). And it could happen sooner.

    Today the two regions have a combined population of 3.96 million people. Thanks to high-growth rates, the population is expected to reach nearly 6 million by 2030. With Austin constrained in its ability to grow to the west, its expansion is moving south and north along the I-35.

    In fact, Lang found in his study, that the northern San Antonio counties of Guadalupe and Comal already have a significant percentage of residents commuting north to Austin. Based on the most recent U.S. Census data from the year 2000, 9 percent of residents in Guadalupe went north and 7 percent did in Comal. If this pace continues or accelerates, San Antonio and Austin will merge in the coming decades.

    The two core cities of Austin and San Antonio will retain their distinctive personalities, but the communities in counties to the north of San Antonio and the south of Austin will increasingly intermingle and merge. The rate of metroplexification may accelerate considerably if a plans to build a massive Trans-Texas Corridor along the I-35, connecting north Texas to Mexico, go through. .:.

    1 Comment:

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