Texas locales to decide in November whether to boost transportation funding

August 21, 2020

Keith Goble

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Voters in multiple Texas locales will decide in November whether to boost transportation funding options to benefit all travelers.

In the capital city of Austin, voters will weigh in on a $7.1 billion mass transit plan.

Project Connect would add an 8.75-cent tax rate on property in the city of 964,000 people. The revenue would be used to bolster a citywide transit plan to reduce traffic

Specifically, the transportation funding plan would pay for the construction of light rail lines, new bus routes and a downtown subway system. The subway could include two new bridges or tunnels over Lady Bird Lake.

Mayor Steve Adler said the tax would help the city address traffic congestion, reduce carbon emissions, and aid service for essential workers.

Advocates say a federal match would cover 45% of the total cost.

The timeline for the completion of projects is eight years.

Pflugerville

In nearby Pflugerville, voters will decide on a $101.7 million transportation funding plan.

Proposition A on the fall ballot would be applied for intersection improvements, street reconstruction and other projects.

A list of six intersections in the city of 64,000 people would receive funding totaling $15.1 million. Another $20.3 million would be used for reconstruction of 28 streets.

The remaining $66.3 million would be used for projects that include widening Kelly Lane Phase 3 to a four-lane section. The project’s price tag is $14.3 million.

Additional widening projects are outlined for Immanuel Road, Central Commerce Drive, Picadilly Drive, and East Pecan Street across state Highway 130.

Improvements along the Farm to Market 685 corridor also are included. The project includes lane alignment.

San Antonio

Voters in San Antonio will decide whether to redirect a one-eighth-cent sales tax for public transit.

The Advanced Transportation District receives a one-quarter-cent tax within San Antonio. The district keeps half of the tax and the other half is sent to Bexar County and the city of San Antonio for highway and mobility projects.

Half of the one-quarter-cent tax would be applied for bus service in the existing service area, and expand service outward. The tax in the city of 1.49 million people is estimated to raise $38.5 million annually

Tax revenue would be routed to transit starting in 2026. Revenue would be split between the VIA Metropolitan Transit about the city and county.

Until then, the city wants to use the revenue from the one-quarter-cent tax to cover job training or higher education degrees.

Advocates say putting money into mass transit is a win-win for everyone driving in and through the city.

“Let me remind those who do not take transit, those who have or choose other options, that you also benefit from VIA because we’re able to take vehicles off the road and reduce congestion that would otherwise occur,” VIA/ATD Board Chair Hope Andrade said in prepared remarks.

More Land Line coverage of news from Texas is available.

 

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Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.