Vote yes on proposition 2. Texas needs all the transportation funds it can get.



For 30 years, the Texas Constitution allowed the legislature to authorize cities to issue bonds to raise the funds needed to build roads, bridges and other vital infrastructure faster. On November 2, and in early voting that begins Monday, voters can give counties that same authority.

Counties, like cities, need all the tools available to meet the basic needs of residents. In places like Harris County, with more than 2 million inhabitants living in unincorporated areas, this is not only a good idea but an urgent necessity.

Issuing bonds means taking out large loans backed by promises to use a portion of future property tax income to pay them off, usually at low interest rates and over decades. This means that residents’ daily lives improve immediately rather than years later.

This is particularly important here. By 2050, the population of the Houston area is expected to double. Imagine how much more time you will spend staring at the rear wing of the car in front of you on Loop 610 in 30 years if the county does not continue to invest in mobility solutions, from smarter, better, better mobility solutions to highways. safer and more abundant roads and cycle paths.

Harris County has dozens of infrastructure projects on her wishlist, from the highway to public transport via cycle paths. Building these projects would increase the value of nearby properties and also add new properties to tax rolls. This new income would pay off bonds and ease the pressure to raise tax rates.

Voters rejected a similar proposal in 2011, but are expected to vote yes this year. While it is true that the power to issue debts could be abused, Proposition 2 judiciously contains a series of guarantees for taxpayers.

First, only the first 65% of new property tax revenue in a given year can be committed to repay bonds. This leaves at least 35% available for other services, from parks to helping the homeless to protecting the environment.

Second, the infrastructure financed by the new bonds will need to be placed in “unproductive, underdeveloped or degraded” areas.

Finally, the bonds could not under any circumstances be used to build toll roads.

With those protections in place, voting for Prop 2 should be a clear call. We urge voters to give Texas counties another tool, long used by cities, to continue investing in their infrastructure. There is perhaps no county in Texas that needs this option more than Harris County.


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