The fact that Houston is currently in the throes of a severe revenue shortage doesn’t change the fact that there’s a great need to renovate and repair large portions of the city’s infrastructure. Naturally, that will cost a lot of money, which we don’t have. But with a new revenue source, we could do it.
Renew Houston, a $10 billion dollar program, has been created to bridge the gap between what the city can afford and the infrastructure construction, repair and replacement needed on an ever-growing basis.
City Councilman At-Large (Position 1) Stephen C. Costello and Jeff Ross, city of Houston Planning Commission member and vice president of Pate Engineers, Inc., unveiled the proposal before about 30 members of the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy last week in southwest Houston.
Renew Houston, Costello said, is a nonprofit advocacy group with the mission of establishing a designated fund that would be disbursed through the city to shore up Houston’s aging streets, drainage and water and sewer systems.
“The city has two programs, one that takes 12 years for the city to decide to rebuild streets and seven years for drainage projects,” Costello said. “We’re looking to set up a separate enterprise fund. This is something we desperately need.”
The proposal, paid for through several sources, would require an amendment to the city charter, Ross said.
“To get a charter amendment, we have to do a petition drive,” Ross said. “We have to write the ordinance in such a way that the money cannot be re-purposed.”
You do want safer streets and better drainage and improved flood abatement, right? Well if you do, you can either hope the Infrastructure Fairy will leave you a sack of money under your pillow some night, or you can find a way to pay for it yourself. Building and repairing infrastructure isn’t just a good investment for cities to make, it’s also a jobs program at a time when one is really needed. I wish Ross and CM Costello luck with their task.