SAN ANTONIO – In the upcoming election, Texans will be asked to decide if they want a new fund created to help support cities' plans to control flooding in the future.
According to Proposition 8, it provides the “creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation and flood control projects.”
The Texas Water Development Board would distribute the funds either by loans or grants. About $800 million would be moved into a specific fund from the rainy day fund, which contains about $12 billion, and it would be a one-time transfer.
Stephen Graham, with the San Antonio River Authority, said the federal funds available are difficult to obtain for smaller cities.
“It really favors big cities that have a large tax base. So this infrastructure fund now kind of allows everybody, whether you're in a rural area, a disadvantaged community or even big cities, like San Antonio or Houston, to apply for this funding,” he said.
Bexar County Watershed Management, which includes several agencies and municipalities in the county, has been working on a flood mitigation plan. If approved, the board would quickly apply for any funds available.
Arguments against Proposition 8 are concerns about cities’ inability to pay back loans and where the money to replenish the funds would come from so the fund can continue. Others also say state and federal funds are already available for flood control.
“Two years ago, Hurricane Harvey really was the impetus to get our state to think differently,” Graham said.
The board of directors of the San Antonio River Authority passed a resolution last week to support the creation of the Flood Infrastructure Fund.
Early voting will be until Nov. 1. Election Day is Nov. 5.