ELECTION 2017: Texas counties to decide on transportation bonds totaling $367 million

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Voters in multiple Texas counties will decide next month whether to tap bonds to get transportation work done.

Ballots in Travis County will include a question to benefit infrastructure throughout the Austin-area locale.

Proposition A on the Nov. 7 ballot calls for authorizing the issuance of $93.4 million in bonds for transportation and road safety projects countywide. The borrowing in the state’s fifth-largest county will be funded over five years via property taxes.

The 26-item list includes roadway, bridge, drainage, bicycle and pedestrian projects around the county. An emphasis is placed on needs of Travis County’s unincorporated areas located outside of city limits.

Specifically, passage of the proposition would result in $31.7 million being designated for improving roadway capacity. The remaining bonds would be used for other infrastructure improvements.

The borrowing amount sought in Proposition A does not include $94.9 million in appropriations for locally funded county projects. The projects do not require voter approval.

Appropriation projects include $66.4 million for roadway safety and $2.5 million for bridge safety.

Passage of the proposition combined with the appropriation amount, which does not require voter approval, would result in a 1.191-cent property tax increase.

Galveston County voters will also decide on whether to issue bonds to get road work done.

Proposition A on the countywide ballot would authorize $56 million in bonds for the construction, maintenance and operation of county roads. The county’s 14 cities would receive about $40 million for roads.

The county also would use $5 million as matching funds to leverage more money for Texas Department of Transportation projects.

Voters in nearby Fort Bend County will cast ballots on issues that include general obligation bonds for infrastructure.

Proposition A would authorize $218.6 million in mobility bonds. The bond package includes 63 road projects across the county.

The county is expected to partner with developers, including TxDOT and cities, to fund another $169.6 million in projects.

The county does not anticipate raising property tax rates to pay for the mobility bond package.

Also of note, voters in Dallas will decide whether to increase the locale’s debt by $534 million to fund infrastructure projects largely focused on roads.

Early voting in Texas began on Monday, Oct. 23.

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