After months of featuring ballot initiatives elsewhere, it’s time to give a quick update on what’s going on here in Texas. This November, voters will be asked to support a constitutional amendment that will divert portion of state sales tax revenue away from the general revenue account and toward the state’s transportation account. This diversion, which many estimate at around $2.5 billion annually, will be revenue on top of the extremely successful Proposition 1 state transportation bond election from last year. If approved, the Proposition 7 amendment would take effect September 1, 2017 and is not set to expire for another 15 years, would give TxDOT and the transportation planning community relative assurance that they will be able to count on this as a source of revenue for their long-term planning purposes.
The list of business groups and conservative lawmakers that have come out in support for this is incredible. Furthermore, it doesn’t appear that organized opposition to Proposition 7 has formed (yet); many of the groups upset about the rapid increase in toll roads are probably pleased to see no funds from this can be used to build more.
To loosely paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, keep in mind this is Texas–anything can and will happen. The Montgomery County road bond this year was a sure thing until it wasn’t in the final few months. My money is that Proposition 7 passes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s closer this year, 55-45.