Fort Bend

Fort Bend County proposing $865 million bond package for transportation, recreation projects

Voters in the largely suburban county southwest of Houston will have the chance to approve a roughly $712 million mobility bond and a $153 million parks bond in November.

Smart Financial Centre Voting
Elizabeth Trovall / Houston Public Media
Lines were at a standstill at the Smart Financial Centre polling “mega site” in Fort Bend County in October 2020.

Fort Bend County residents will vote on parks and mobility bonds next month that could fund millions of dollars in transportation and recreation projects.

Voters in the largely suburban county southwest of Houston will have the chance to approve a roughly $712 million mobility bond and a $153 million parks bond in November.

Mobility projects include items such as road repairs and construction as well as traffic safety improvements in different parts of the county.

The county also hopes to build a sports complex, develop cricket fields and pickleball courts and upgrade various facilities using the funding, among other projects.

Additionally, about $245 million from the mobility bond will go to projects that are already underway. The costs of many projects increased due to inflation, said Fort Bend County Judge KP George.

George said the county wants to provide good infrastructure for a growing population as the area nears 1 million residents.

"People continue to move into Fort Bend County," he said. "Why? Because we have a good quality of life here."

The bonds will not increase the tax rate if passed, according to the county commissioners court.

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The propositions have drawn both support and opposition from local municipal leaders. Some say the measures are needed to keep the area up-to-date, while others worry that commissioners are overspending.

Stafford city council member William Bostic said he thinks the bonds are "needed and timely."

"I feel that it's going to help propel Fort Bend into the future," he said. "We're one of the fastest growing counties in the nation and these are issues that we're going to need to fix."

Meanwhile, Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman described the bonds as an "overreach." He acknowledged that the city would miss out on $50 million in funding for parks and mobility projects if the measures don't pass, but said he still has concerns about the bonds.

"At the end of the day, I'm OK with that," he said. "And I think the residents of Sugar Land are going to be OK with that because of the fact that it needs to be a lower amount (and) more prioritized."

George said he hopes to provide information to Fort Bend County voters so they can make an informed choice.

"I am confident that they will make the right decision at the ballot box," he said. "And (at the) end of the day, whatever that decision, we accept it and that's how democracy works."

The county will hold informational meetings about the bond at the University Branch Library in Sugar Land on Oct. 16; the Sienna Branch Library in Missouri City on Oct. 18; and the Mission Bend Library in Houston on Oct. 24. All meetings will run from 6-7 p.m.