State efforts to develop new water supplies, build natural-gas power plants, develop new state parks, encourage university research and better connect rural and underserved communities that do not have broadband access, as Texans approved a raft of ballot measures that will fund billions in infrastructure projects statewide.
Voters signed off on Proposition 7, creating a $7.2 billion Texas Energy Fund that will facilitate 3% loans from the state to build natural-gas power plants. The Public Utility Commission must begin accepting applications no later than June 1, 2024.
Texans also opted to create a Texas University Fund (TUF) with the approval of Proposition 5. The amendment establishes a $3.9 billion endowment to provide a reliable funding source to bolster the research efforts of four universities as they strive to achieve national prominence as major research institutions. The TUF will deliver tens of millions to the University of Houston, Texas Tech, Texas State University and the University of North Texas.
Texas’s technological infrastructure also got a boost with voter approval of Proposition 8. The amendment creates a $1.5 billion broadband infrastructure fund to finance connectivity projects geared toward addressing the 2.8 million Texas homes in rural or underserved communities without broadband internet access.
Voters signed off on Proposition 6, creating the Texas Water Fund, a water-project dedicated pool of $1 billion administered by the Texas Water Development Board. It will develop new water supplies and fix older systems.
Voters also voiced their support for more green spaces in the state after signing off on Proposition 14, creating the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund. It will provide $1 billion to acquire and develop state parks, effective Jan. 1, 2024.
Photo by Lorie Shaull