Austin will request $191 million loan application to the Texas State Infrastructure Bank to support the city's "cap and stitch" program to build decks over a IH-35 when the highway is expanded.

The City Council voted Thursday to submit financial assistance application for an I-35 Cap and Stitch program. It's proposing decks of various sizes — commonly referred to as "caps" and "stitches" — to cover parts of the highway that will be lowered when it is expanded. The move is intended to restore connections between central east and west Austin that were destroyed when the highway was built and underscored a separation already in place due to segregation laws the city enacted in 1928. The caps and stitches could include new walkways, bike paths, and green space to facilitate that reconnection.

The Texas Department of Transportation will pay $4.5 billion to lower I-35 but will not pay for the caps and stitch program.

The U.S. Transportation Department has awarded the Austin a $105 million grant for the a cap through its Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program, funded by the Inflation Reduction Act. The city will contribute an additional $45 million local match for that cap, which would cover the highway between East Cesar Chavez and East Fourth streets.

The University of Texas is considering funding decks between 15th and Dean Keeton streets, adjacent to the Mike A. Myers Stadium and Moody Center.

The city is also considering a 2026 bond election to seek further funding for the program, which would cost more than $868 million if fully executed.