Up to $200 million in Texas drinking water and wastewater infrastructure project funding may be available if voters in November prove willing to approve a new constitutional amendment.
That amendment, as proposed by Texas State Representative Eddie Lucio, and subsequently overwhelmingly passed in both legislative chambers, would authorize the Texas Water Development Board to provide funding for such projects.
Created in 1957, that board is tasked with providing planning and financial assistance to local governments for water development and conservation projects throughout the state.
By definition, the funding will specifically target projects in what are known as Economically Distressed Areas, a designation created by the Texas Legislature two decades ago.
Besides water and wastewater projects, the funding can also be used for drainage projects as well as the acquisition of land.
In an editorial published in the El Paso Times, Ed Roden-Lucero, pastor of the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in East El Paso, said the amendment’s passage will ensure that “more families will live in neighborhoods that have safe drinking water and wastewater services.”
The funding proposal must go the amendment route due to a Texas law prohibiting the state from borrowing money for any project without first securing the consent of the voting public.
A promising trend line for water project advocates in the state: proposed voter-approved constitutional amendments, according to one analysis, have a better than 90 percent passage rate.
By Garry Boulard
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