EDINBURG, RGV – Hidalgo County Commissioners Court has unanimously approved a resolution in support of a constitutional amendment for increased state funding to assist with transportation projects
The court did so at its meeting on Tuesday, October 13.
Proposition 7, which will be on the Nov. 3 ballot, will provide increased funding for non-tolled roads, reducing transportation-related debt and to develop public roadways.
Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garica pointed out that Proposition 7 will not raise taxes. He said that for years, the State Highway Fund hasn’t received enough financial support to keep up with the rapidly growing Texas economy.
“Proposition 7 is an easy decision for any Texan who believes the state needs to improve highway safety, reduce delays and deal with aging roads/bridges,” Garcia said. “The amendment would authorize a new, stable source of funding for Transportation in Texas, dedicated to the construction and maintenance of roads.”
Garcia then listed some of the needed area projects that could be funded if the Texas Department of Transportation has more resources.
“Needed area projects such as the completion of I-69 from Brownsville to Corpus Christi, the East Loop project to the Port of Brownsville, the FM 1925 project connecting Hidalgo County with Cameron County, I-69 from Pharr to Three Rivers, the U.S. 83 La Joya Relief Route, I-2/I-69 interchange improvements in Pharr, SH 68 Donna to Edinburg as well as many other projects could be beneficiaries of the state having more money for highways in the years to come,” Garcia said.
State Sen. Juan Hinojosa of McAllen has said he wants to see TxDOT make the I-2 and I-69 Central interchange a priority.
Garcia reiterated that voters are not being asked to approve a new tax. “Instead Proposition 7 would direct a portion of the state’s sales tax collected each year to the State Highway Fund. Voters should support Proposition 7 without reservation. The amendment would provide a significant step toward meeting the unmet needs for transportation projects in Texas,” Garcia said.
Hidalgo County Executive Director Bobby Villarreal pointed out that the amendment dedicates existing revenue so that long-term transportation projects will have secure funding.
If approved by voters in November, Villarreal said, approximately $2.5 billion from the state sales tax would be devoted to non-toll road projects, with a varying additional amount coming from the motor vehicle sales and rental tax.
“Commissioners Court supports Proposition 7 and urges all Hidalgo County residents to vote in favor of it for better, safer roads for all Texans,” Villarreal said.
Judge Garcia recently penned an op-ed on the subject of Proposition 7. It was co-authored by Cameron County Judge Pete Sepulveda, Jr. Click here to read the op-ed.
Editor’s Note: In the main photo accompanying this story Hidalgo County commissioners hold a sign in support of Proposition 7. Pictured from left to right are Commissioner Joseph Palacios, Commissioner Joe Flores, County Judge Ramon Garcia, Commissioner Eddie Cantu and Commissioner A.C. Cuellar.