Travis County 2017-22 bond program remains on track thanks to innovations

Travis County commissioners received their sixth update on the 2017-22 bond program at a Dec. 3 meeting. (Emma Freer/Community Impact Newspaper)
Travis County commissioners received their sixth update on the 2017-22 bond program at a Dec. 3 meeting. (Emma Freer/Community Impact Newspaper)

Travis County commissioners received their sixth update on the 2017-22 bond program at a Dec. 3 meeting. (Emma Freer/Community Impact Newspaper)

Fifty-six of the 60 projects included in the five-year bond program Travis County voters approved in 2017 are in active development, according to a Dec. 3 presentation made to the Commissioners Court.

The projects, which have a deadline of 2022, largely consist of local transportation and park improvements. Six have been completed, and nine are under construction.

Because of the scope of the bond program—the largest ever undertaken by Travis County—it is being overseen by an outside consultant rather than by county staff directly.

“This is a utterly revolutionary retooling with the ability to push... four times as many [projects] as we’ve ever done before in a five-year period,” County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said.

County staff expects the majority of work in early 2020 to focus on design and other preliminary tasks before construction begins in earnest later in the year, according to a brief.


“There’s been a lot of tightening in everybody’s little area,” County Executive Cynthia McDonald said, commending various departments for innovating along the way.

Two small projects—bike safety improvements along Elroy Road in Southeast Austin and FM 973 in Manor—are no longer on schedule to be substantially completed by 2022. The Texas Department of Transportation has taken over management of the projects, while the county will continue to track their progress.

Meanwhile, county staff have identified seven projects that can be jump-started this December, resulting in “significant time savings.”

Additionally, in July, commissioners approved hiring a drainage consultant to help sidestep a lengthier and more costly federal approval process for changes made to the county’s 100-year flood plain.

The consultant—who has been selected, according to the brief—is expected to help save four to six months on up to 20 bond projects.
By Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.


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