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Houston City Council Passes 5-Year Infrastructure Plan

Mayor Sylvester Turner tried to address some long-standing complaints by council members.

Finance Director Kelly Dowe briefs council members on details of the CIP.

Finance Director Kelly Dowe briefs council members on details of the CIP.

Every year around this time the Houston City Council discusses its Capital Improvement Plan, a five-year blueprint for infrastructure projects.

The $8.7 billion for the next five years are divided by council district, and so council members usually try to get as much for their constituents as possible.

But because the money is allocated by need, not all districts get an equal share.

District J, for example, which includes Sharpstown and Gulfton, only receives 5 percent of all district funds from the plan.

Its representative, Mike Laster, was one of two council members who voted against it.

“The budgets that have been put forward were based on last year’s number and not what the new numbers will have to be,” he said during the last council meeting. “So therefore there is a very significant question mark as to what the funding will be for some of these projects.”

Unequal distribution has been a big issue for council member Dave Martin. Last year, his District E was allocated only 3 percent of the district funds.

But he says the mayor worked with him to change that. He now gets 7 percent, or $180 million, over five years.

“This year I’m pleased that we have a number of good projects that I think the people in District E – Clear Lake, Kingwood and Southbelt – can appreciate,” Martin said.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said he wants to establish a new formula for the distribution of funds to ensure it’s both equitable and addresses the greatest needs.

He expects that to be in place for the next capital improvement vote in a year from now.

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Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters and the Houston Press Club. Florian is a native of Germany. His studies...

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