Less than a month before the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County board is expected to finalize a voter referendum for the November ballot, Harris County Commissioners Court approved a resolution July 24 to support the continuation of METRO's general mobility fund as it currently exists.
Since 1988, Harris County, the City of Houston and 14 other municipalities within METRO's service area have received 25 percent of the sales tax collected by the organization to use for mobility projects to maintain streets, bridges, drainage systems, sidewalks and grade separations. Voters last had the chance in 2003 to decide whether to continue using the fund for mobility projects or spend it on transit. Although the program was extended until 2014 with the 2003 referendum, voters must again decide its fate before it expires.
Harris County receives about 18 percent of the general mobility fund, which has helped pay for several transportation projects in northwest Harris County, including the Spring Cypress Road and Perry Road widening projects.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack said the impact of decreased funding or no funding for Harris County from the general mobility fund would result in a proportionate decrease of road construction in the unincorporated areas of the county.
"Since they want to decrease our funding, I think it's time we lay it on the line how much there is out there and turn the public eye toward it so we can improve the unincorporated area since that's basically the only part of Harris County that is growing rapidly," he said.
See Community Impact Newspaper's Aug. 17 edition for more on the METRO general mobility fund issue.