This November there are a number of important statewide and county specific propositions and bonds that are in alignment with the West Houston 2060 Plan. These initiatives provide the funding necessary to address critical issues, from infrastructure improvements to healthcare accessibility, education, and more. By voting in favor of the following initiatives, we invest in the future of our region, ensuring that our communities remain vibrant, resilient, and equipped to meet the evolving needs of their residents. This is a collective commitment to enhancing the quality of life across the greater West Houston region and beyond.
Proposition 5: The Texas University Fund
Ensuring a robust pipeline of highly educated college graduates is of paramount importance for West Houston, as it directly impacts our ability to attract businesses and investments that drive long-term economic growth. With a focus on elevating additional Texas universities to top-50 status and enhancing the state’s competitiveness, the 2023 Legislature successfully enacted House Bill 1595 and House Joint Resolution 3. These pivotal legislative actions have paved the way for the establishment of the Texas University Fund (TUF), a permanent $3.4 billion research endowment.
The TUF is poised to allocate up to $100 million annually to support four Texas public universities, including our local University of Houston. This groundbreaking investment marks a substantial leap in strengthening Texas’ higher education institutions. It provides the essential financial resources needed to propel Texas universities up the national rankings, thereby enhancing our region’s capacity to attract top-tier talent and maintain and extend the regions existing educational advantages in alignment with the West Houston 2060 Plan.
Furthermore, the TUF will empower Texas universities to compete effectively for federal research grants, secure private research funding, cultivate stronger alumni engagement, and solidify Texas as the premier destination for higher education. The successful establishment of the TUF, however, hinges on the passage of Proposition 5 by the voters.
The West Houston Association emphatically encourages support for this constitutional amendment, which brings forth the Texas University Fund. By doing so, we can expand educational opportunities for our local students, fortify our regional economy, and ensure that West Houston remains a thriving hub for education, innovation, and economic prosperity.
Proposition 6: The Texas Water Fund
Access to water stands as a paramount concern across the greater West Houston region, particularly in more rural areas grappling with the challenges posed by rapid population growth and aging water infrastructure serving the community. As highlighted in the most recent State Water Plan, Texas is poised to experience a substantial 73 percent population increase from 2020 to 2070, with water demands expected to surge by nine percent. Simultaneously, the existing water supply is anticipated to decline by around 18 percent. This trajectory paints a stark picture of a looming water shortage crisis, which could reach a staggering 6.9 million acre-feet per year by 2070, significantly impacting our region’s future land development and prosperity.
Recognizing the urgency of this issue, the Texas Legislature has taken a pivotal step by passing a constitutional amendment to establish the New Water Supply Fund, the Texas Water Fund, and the Statewide Water Public Awareness Account. These funds are crucial for addressing the challenges posed by aging water infrastructure in the greater West Houston region and across the state. They enable the state to initiate vital water infrastructure projects and provide increased local financing opportunities for projects that will help ensure reliable and sustainable water access for our residents and supporting the future of land development in our region.
The realization of these essential initiatives relies on the approval of Proposition 6 by voters. The West Houston Association advocates for your support of this constitutional amendment, which establishes the Texas Water Fund, a key component in financing water projects within our region and in alignment with the West Houston 2060 Plan to increase investment in water infrastructure.
Fort Bend Mobility and Parks Bonds
Fort Bend County faces significant population growth in the years ahead which requires investment in both mobility and parks to ensure a high quality of life in the region. In the upcoming election, the focus lies on securing the 2023 Fort Bend County Mobility and Parks Bonds, totaling $747 million, with $594 million allocated for the Mobility Bond and $153 million for the Parks Bond. These bonds aim to tackle critical issues related to transportation, flood control, resilience, and the development of recreational facilities.
The Mobility Bond addresses the pressing need for road, bridge, and drainage improvements to enhance transportation safety and efficiency across the county. These investments are essential to accommodate our area’s rapid population growth as well as address flood resilience.
The Parks Bond addresses the need for new parks, trails, and recreational facilities. These investments promote active and healthy lifestyles, strengthen community bonds, and offer recreational opportunities for residents of all ages. This can attract businesses, create job opportunities, and boost the economic prosperity of Fort Bend County.
As Fort Bend County continues to expand, these bonds ensure that our infrastructure keeps pace with demand, making our region an increasingly attractive place to live, work, and thrive for generations to come. West Houston Association strongly supports the passage of these bonds that are in alignment with the West Houston 2060 plan.
Waller County Mobility Bonds:
Waller County stands at a pivotal juncture, and the 2023 Waller County Bonds are instrumental in shaping its future. These bonds represent a critical investment in our region’s infrastructure, with a primary focus on enhancing roads, bridges, and highways, in alignment with the issuance of $280,000,000 in general obligation bonds to fund essential activities such as designing, acquiring, constructing, improving, repairing, and maintaining vital transportation arteries within Waller County. This includes city, state, and county streets, roads, highways, and bridges. The bonds will also support the acquisition of land and rights-of-way, traffic signalization and control equipment, lighting, necessary utility relocation, and drainage improvements. In essence, these bonds lay the foundation for substantial mobility enhancements, enhancing connectivity and accessibility. The West Houston Association supports the Waller County Mobility bonds as government investment in mobility is not only in alignment with the West Houston 2060 plan but is also imperative as development and rapid growth continues in Waller County.
Harris County Proposition A: Harris Health System Bond Referendum
Harris Health serves nearly five million residents in Harris County and neighboring areas. Harris County Proposition A seeks funding for crucial healthcare initiatives, including replacing the aging LBJ hospital, establishing a third Level I Trauma center, expanding the capacity of Ben Taub Hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center, and investing in clinics and population health services. Harris County’s population has surged in the last three decades, while healthcare facilities operated by Harris Health have seen capacity decline. The LBJ hospital often operates beyond capacity and has reached the end of its functional life. To meet our community’s healthcare needs, we need at least four Level 1 Trauma centers. Currently, we have only two, both in the Texas Medical Center, posing accessibility challenges for residents in the north and northeast. West Houston Association supports Harris County Proposition A to secure vital healthcare infrastructure, ensuring a better quality of life for our community.
Other State Propositions
The following propositions are not as directly impactful on the greater West Houston region. However, we feel you should still be aware of them and their potential benefits to the region,
Proposition 7 – Texas Energy Fund
This constitutional amendment provides for the creation of the Texas Energy Fund to support the construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities. Having a reliable grid is important to continued development. Currently population is increasing more quickly than energy production. This increased demand is straining the Texas power grid. This proposition creates a state fund of loans and grants with the aim of building or upgrading dispatchable power plants. While this proposition only creates a source of financing for dispatchable electric generating facilities (aka not wind or solar), it would still help with overall reliability of electricity for the state.
Proposition 8 – Broadband Infrastructure Fund
This constitutional amendment creates the broadband infrastructure fund to expand high-speed broadband access and assist in the financing of connectivity projects. As development gets further away from major cities, access to broadband is more limited. Moderate to High-speed broadband internet is available for most of the greater West Houston region. These funds will help pay to develop and finance services in more rural areas of the state where people lack access. The fund will also provide matching funds with federal money from the Broadband Equity, Access and Development Programs that would have more impact here locally.
Proposition 14 – Centennial Parks Conservation Fund
This constitutional amendment will provide for the creation of the centennial parks conservation fund to be used for the creation and improvement of state parks. This $1 Billion investment in state parks will go towards buying more land for the state parks system as well as maintenance of existing parks. While it is unlikely that any new parks would be created in the greater Houston area, funding could be used to improve Stephen F Austin State Park or Brazos Bend State Park which are in the general greater West Houston region.