Even if Travis Co. bond passes, some projects might not happen

Commissioner says controversial projects may be reconsidered

Turn around don't drown sign at low water crossing on Old Bee Caves Road. (Todd Bynum/KXAN News)

BEE CAVE, Texas (KXAN) – Generally, when a bond package is presented, voters expect all proposed projects will happen if the bond is passed. Commissioner Gerald Daugherty says that may not be the case with Travis County’s $185 million bond up for a vote this November.

The bond package is split into two parts. Part A covers projects areas such as roads, bridges, infrastructure and drainage. Part B covers parks projects. Parts A and B will be voted on separately and either can pass or fail without the other.

If voters approve part A, Daugherty says one particular project listed would still have to make it over another hurdle in order to move forward — the building of a bridge over a low water crossing on Great Divide Drive in Bee Cave.

The low water crossing sits at the only point of access to and from The Homestead neighborhood. County engineers have deemed it one of the worst low-water crossings in Travis County. During major storm events, the road can flood for a couple days at a time, making it impossible for people who live in The Homestead to leave. It also presents a challenge for emergency responders needing to get in to the subdivision.

Daugherty says that’s why $4.2 million of proposed Travis County bond money was originally intended to be allocated toward putting a bridge over the low water crossing. However, he also says it’s a controversial issue among people who live in the subdivision, so the county may nix the project, even if the bond passes.

“I have always been a little surprised that the overwhelming majority of people in this particular subdivision have been steadfast in their opposition,” Daugherty said.

Daugherty says The Homestead residents are worried fixing the low water crossing could spur more development in their quiet neighborhood.

Therefore, if the bond passes, the commissioner promises to put the project to a vote among the people who live in the subdivision.

“The people most affected, as far as I’m concerned, ought to be the people that have a lot of say,” Daugherty said.

He says the county won’t move forward if 75 percent of the neighborhood is against putting in the bridge. The $4.2 million originally intended for that project would instead be used as overflow money for other bond projects that end up costing more than expected.

“It doesn’t happen very often, but it is possible,” Daugherty said of scrapping projects to help pay for other projects that go over-budget.

Daugherty says it is possible other projects in the bond package could be altered, as well.

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