“If we don’t build the roads, the growth will go elsewhere,” “Roads are too expensive,” “There are too many people here already, I don’t want anyone else to move here.” Sound familiar? These are quotes heard often in Austin in the 70’s – by well meaning people who moved to this area because they liked the quality of life, and would have preferred that the door to opportunity and happiness shut right behind them.
Fast forward, circa 2008. Austin’s roadways are congested. People (and businesses) are still moving to Austin. And now they are dealing with – in 2008 dollars, a situation that would have been better addressed when the need was first realized, in the 1970’s. Austin is bottlenecked and congested. Getting from north to south is a nightmare. The same folks that thought not building roadways would keep everyone else out now realize it didn’t work. And the only way the city can afford to build safer roadways for its citizens is via toll roads. The “pay-as-you-go” plan.
Now, please turn your eyes to Hays County, the third fastest growing county in Texas. Every day, we drive down increasingly congested and unsafe roadways. And every day, we hear those same voices telling us that we don’t need more roads in Hays County, that too many people live here already. It feels like Austin all over again.
Not that feeling like Austin is a bad thing. We, too, have all the wonderful amenities of the Texas Hill Country that make our area desirable and where businesses and families want to locate. We, too, care deeply about our precious natural resources, the environment that we cherish and the quality of life that we hold dear. But we have one big advantage to Austin, circa the 1970’s. We don’t have our head in the sand. We know that population growth has occurred and will continue to occur. And we are smart enough to realize that we are better off planning for the future than hiding from it. We have learned from Austin’s mistakes and are taking the necessary steps, with citizen input, to build the roads necessary to safely move traffic in our county, now and for years to come.
It has been said that those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. It has also been said that the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different outcome. Our county is smarter than that. But it’s up to us to exercise our right to vote and make intelligent choices for our future. VOTE YES for the Hays County Road Bond Package on November 4. The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce supports the Hays County Road Bond Package. We ask you to urge your friends, families and colleagues to do the same. If not, you might as well start stocking up on quarters because the toll roads we would need in the future will be far more expensive than the road bond package we have the opportunity to pass today.
By PHYLLIS SNODGRASS
President – San Marcos Chamber of Commerce