Due to rising inflation and construction costs, the Williamson County Commissioners Court voted March 7 to issue $150 million in short-term debt to help tackle uncompleted projects from the 2019 road bond program.

“We are dealing, like every individual and every governmental entity out there, with historic increases in the cost of living and the cost of construction,” Precinct 2 County Commissioner Cynthia Long said.

After having discussions on the possibility of delaying projects outlined in the voter-approved bond program from 2019—a $412 million package meant to fund new construction and expansion of roads—the court approved a total dollar amount of $237.4 million to finish up the remaining projects on the list. To help cover part of the cost, the county will issue no more than $150 million in tax anticipation notes this fiscal year.

Of that amount, $22 million will go to overage costs for the expansion of the Williamson County Juvenile Detention Center. Another $70 million will go to right-of-way purchases for the road projects.

Long said, in past road bond packages, the timing of the economy allowed the county to complete projects beyond what was proposed to voters.

“This is a unique challenge that we’ve not had—at least in the 16 years that I’ve been doing this—to where we had to say, ‘Here are some projects we may or may not do,’ because of what is happening on the cost," Long said. "It’s not just the cost of construction; it’s the skyrocketing cost of right-of-way acquisition.”

The remaining funding for the 2019 projects will come from other sources, whether it is tax anticipation notes funding or a future bond package. County Judge Bill Gravell said he plans to bring an agenda item to the court in the coming weeks for commissioners to establish a committee to review the possibility of a future road bond proposal.