AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Austin is in the middle of changing road signs from “Manchaca” to “Menchaca,” a group pushing for the old name to continue gathered research claiming the costs would be much higher than what the city said. Here’s a fact check.
In October, the Austin city council voted to rename Menchaca Road to Menchaca Road, to correct a historical misspelling. Supporters say José Antonio Menchaca fought for Texas in the Battle of San Jacinto and his name was first misspelled shortly after the battle.
The Justice for Manchaca organization, which pushed for the change, also raised $24,000 to pay to correct the 160 street signs within the city. The city estimates the cost for changing those signs will be $23,073.97.
Nearby businesses sued the city in November, saying the change would cost them a significant amount of money to change signs and documents. They’re operating under the name “Leave Manchaca Alone” and say they didn’t get enough of a say in the process.
The claim: Costs to change the signs would be more than eight times the estimate
Leave Manchaca Alone requested a Texas Department of Transportation engineer review how much it would cost to change the name on large highway signs like those on US Highway 290 and Loop 360 which are owned by TxDOT.
Epigmenio Gonzalez said it would cost between $150,000 and $200,000 to change the signs and that the City of Austin would have to pay for it.
True and not true
While replacing those large highway signs would cost that amount, that’s not currently the plan. The city of Austin said instead, TxDOT will replace those signs as part of routine maintenance if they are faded or damaged. That means it won’t cost the city anything extra.
“We have received written notification from the city of Austin about their plans to change the name of Manchaca Road within their jurisdiction,” said Diann Hodges with TxDOT. “The city did not ask TxDOT to change any signs within the state jurisdiction, so they will remain, until regular maintenance is required on those signs.”
Past street name changes
Last May, Austin replaced signs along roads that had been named for people with Confederate ties. Robert E. Lee Road was changed to Azie Morton Road and Jeff Davis Ave was changed to Will Holland Avenue.
These are smaller roads and don’t have any highway signs associated with them. It cost $1,200.83 to replace 10 Robert E. Lee signs and $869.93 to replace 8 Jeff Davis street signs.