Harris County voters will face another bond election at the ballot box this November. Harris County commissioners are finalizing the language and amounts on four measures that will be on the ballot seeking voter approval.
The total bond package is expected to be $848 million dollars. Of this, $700 million is set for roads and infrastructure, $64 million for flood control, $60 million for parks, and $24 million to upgrade the animal control facility. Voters will get to choose on each measure, Judge Ed Emmett said.
Budget director William Jackson pointed out that these bonds are essentially loans to the county, and will be issued over the next seven years, not all at once.
The county is currently paying back previous bonds, at the rate of $100 million per year and the new bonds would just supplant paid off debt, he said.
Judge Emmett said that the bonds are needed to keep up with population growth, which has seen 750,000 new residents in unincorporated Harris County since 2000. This growth requires new government-funded roads and infrastructure, he said, to catch up with projects and “in anticipation of further growth.”
Emmett emphasized that the bond issues will not result in a tax increase. Municipal bonds are sold to private investors, the funds are available for use, and eventually the taxpayers pay back the bond debt from current revenue.
Projects that may be funded with the bond money in this area include Pct. 1 completing Miller Road 2 and East Mount Houston Phase 2, said Commissioner El Franco Lee, as well as further park development.
In Pct. 2, Commissioner Jack Morman said he may use the money for roads and freight capacity around the Port of Houston, to widen evacuation routes such as I-10 and I45. He also had plans for an overpass bridge over the railroad tracks on Federal Road at the Washburn Tunnel, and the widening and repaving of the Crosby-Lynchburg corridor to a four-lane thoroughfare.
Commissioner Cagle said that Pct. 4 had a number of road and greenway projects that needed funding, including Kuykendahl and Gosling, Telge, and Eldridge.