From Hays Families for Safe Mobility
KYLE – A coalition of Hays County residents organized in support of a major road bond proposal on the Nov. 4 ballot said Monday that the bonds will provide much-needed safety and mobility improvements to roadways throughout the county.
The group, Hays Families for Safe Mobility, announced its campaign for the $207 million proposed bond issue at a news conference Monday afternoon at an intersection along Interstate 35 between Kyle and Buda. Traffic seizes up dangerously during morning and afternoon hours at the intersection, which is one of those to be improved if voters say “yes” to the bonds.
“I’m concerned for the safety of my family whenever we drive on FM 1626. I’m grateful that I don’t have to brave rush-hour every day because even driving in the off-hours with my two young daughters, we’ve seen way too many accidents and close calls,” said Hays County mother Melissa Frensley.
Buda Fire Department Chief Clay Huckaby added that proposed improvements will reduce response times and allow safer access for emergency vehicles at overcrowded intersections along roadways, including the one that served as a site for the news conference Monday afternoon.
“The proposed improvements certainly will make our roads safer, but they also should help reduce congestion in our fast-growing county,” said Chuck Nash, a San Marcos business leader who is co-chair of the bond support group.
Other co-chairs of the citizen committee include Whit Hanks of Dripping Springs, Amy Ledbetter Parham of Kyle, Mike Moeller of Wimberley and Brad Hagen of Buda.
Speaking for proposed bond improvements in western Hays County, Hanks called the bonds “critical to safety on (U.S) Highway 290 and elsewhere in the Dripping Springs area.” He said the package includes creation of a center turn lane on an extended section of busy U.S. Highway 290 through Dripping Springs.
The bonds would provide improvements in all four Hays precincts. They were placed onto the Nov. 4 general election ballot by a unanimous vote of the Hays Commissioners Court in late August.
Of the total bonds, nearly $133 million could eventually be re-paid to Hays County by the State of Texas, which has agreed to “pass-through financing” for many of the proposed improvements. On that portion of the bonds, the state will repay the county up to 80 percent of the original cost based on actual utilization of the improved roadways over time.
“People in all areas of Hays County understand that we are in the path of growth down Interstate-35 and out Highway 290, and Ranch Road 12 is already the most dangerous road in the county. We cannot ignore the need to make critical safety improvements for our expanding population. This bond package is the absolute minimum we must do,” said Moeller, the committee co-chair from Wimberley.
The bond program was developed through a comprehensive citizen review by a Bond Advisory Committee appointed early last summer by the Hays Commissioners Court and chaired by Nash.
“This is a carefully scrubbed, affordable program,” said Parham, who serves as treasurer of Hays Families for Safe Mobility as well as co-chair for Kyle. “It includes projects in all precincts of the county and was unanimously supported by all five members of the commissioners court.”
Added Hagen, the Buda co-chair, “It’s also very attractive that we will see local participation by San Marcos and Kyle to offset the county’s costs. Of course, the largest part of the program will be reimbursed by the state over time.”
If approved, the bond debt will be serviced through a modest tax increase averaging $6 a month for the owner of a house valued at $200,000 on the Hays Appraisal District tax rolls.
“While a tax increase is never desirable, we must meet the growing safety and mobility needs of our county. This increase is affordable to achieve the level of security provided by safe, more effective roadways that also provide improved mobility,” concluded Moeller.
More information on the bond package is available from the Hays Families for Safe Mobility website at www.SaferHaysCounty.org.Email | Print