The Montgomery County Commissioners Court has opted not to hold a road bond election in November, citing the need for a completed countywide mobility study and a proposal that will ensure voter approval.

Three of the four commissioners—Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark—stated their opposition to a November vote during the court’s July 14 meeting. The three instead said an election in November 2016, which will coincide with the presidential election, is more likely.

The county is also awaiting the results of a mobility study being conducted by the Houston-Galveston Area Council of the county’s thoroughfares. The results of the study will not be complete until the end of the year, according to H-GAC.

“I think we have a lot to do to change the minds of voters,” Riley said. “I don’t think we can do it by this November. We heard over and over [from voters] that we didn’t have a study. We just got through hearing about a study, but it won’t be ready until the end of the year.”

About 58 percent of Montgomery County voters opposed a $350 million bond proposal in May, defeating the measure. Many of those opposing the plan cited the inclusion of the six-mile extension of Woodlands Parkway and about $48 million worth of road rehabilitation projects in Precinct 1 as projects they believed were not needed.

Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack was in favor of holding a November 2015 election. Noack cited available funding from the Texas Department of Transportation— money that works as matching funding with local projects—as a reason to hold a bond election this year.

“If we wait until 2016 to pass a road bond, how much further behind does that put us in terms of extracting money from state?” he said. “I’m afraid if we wait, we may miss out on the majority of money available.”

County Judge Craig Doyal said the county needs to make a better effort to encourage a larger turnout for the next bond proposal. According to the county, 10 percent of registered voters went to the polls in the May election.

“We need to do a better job of informing voters of Montgomery County what situation really is,” Doyal said. “I think there certainly is a need [for a road bond], but there are projects that are questionable—like Robinson Road and Woodlands Parkway—and we need to make sure we put out a bond package that will get approval.”

Meador said some of the thoroughfares in his precinct were in need of such repair that the costs to do so exceeded the county’s normal budgeting capacity.

“There is a huge difference in maintenance and rehabilitation,” Meador said. “Maintenance is what we do every year. Rehabilitation is when we don’t have the money to do [a road project] with our given budget. We don’t have a pot of money to reach in and spend $20 million to rehabilitate roads that have worn out. Eventually roads need to be redone. The only way to do that is with bond money.”

Prior to the court’s discussion on a possible November bond vote, commissioners heard comments from eight county residents who asked the court to hold a vote this year.

“The road bond was urgent in May, and now you want to delay until 2016,” said Jean Mann, a resident of Precinct 2. “That doesn’t make any sense. Come together and work together to get something on the ballot in 2015. Remove the maintenance projects and the Woodlands Parkway extension.”

Despite the court declining to hold a vote this November, commissioners agreed to work to secure money for local projects TxDOT could be ready to co-fund.

“If TxDOT gets excited about a project and wants to help us build it, we need to look at [alternative] funding until the next bond passes,” Noack said.