Metro Board Okays Ballot Language For November Funding Vote

A ballot measure that would continue a Metro program that shares a portion of its sales tax revenue with smaller area cities has been given the green light by the transit agency's board.

In an 8-1 vote, Metro's board agreed on ballot language for a November referendum.

Voters will now decide if Metro should continue to share a quarter of its one-cent sales tax with 16 local municipalities for road projects.

Metro wants that contribution capped at 2014 levels and any tax revenue increase moving forward would decrease what Metro shares.

Metro Chairman Gilbert Garcia explains:

"From 2014 to 2025, funds will continue to go for those projects, but it will generally go, if the sales tax projections are met, down from 25-percent to approximately 19-percent. That lower number is what is getting funds to Metro to address those areas, the financials and the transit ridership, primarily related to the bus system."

That new formula could net Metro an extra $400 million in tax revenues. Earlier this month the transit agency agreed on a proposal that smaller area cities thought was unfair. Garcia says the revised ballot language is a compromise.

"I've been trying to bridge the gap between people who wanted all the mobility back with people who wanted to leave it in as is. And so I think this particular proposal does a much better job to build consensus between all the different groups, all the different partners, but it gets $400 million that are vital to Metro."

The new tax revenue sharing agreement would be in effect until 2025 if voters approve it in November.

 

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...