Georgetown calls $90M mobility bond for May 1 election
The City of Georgetown has called a bond election for Tuesday, May 1, 2021. Voters will consider one bond proposition for various street and transportation infrastructure projects. This election is being held in conjunction with the May General Election for local offices and propositions for other taxing entities, including City Council districts 1 and 5.
The total amount of the bond proposition is $90 million in new funding authorizations. If voters approve Proposition A, the City anticipates raising the property tax rate by 3 cents once the bonds are issued to cover the full cost of the projects. The average Georgetown resident could expect their annual property taxes to increase by $83.40, based on the average homestead taxable value in 2020 of $278,001. The City expects to start work on the projects within seven years, economic conditions permitting.
The anticipated 3-cent tax rate increase would generate an estimated $120 million during the life of the bond, which is the total amount required to complete the projects. The additional $30 million generated by the tax increase would go toward completing work on related projects from the 2008 and 2015 bonds that were approved by voters but never funded.
The projects included in Proposition A on the ballot May 1 are as follows:
Project 1: SE Inner Loop | Anticipated $32 million
This 2.91-mile project consists of widening SE Inner Loop to a four-lane, divided, minor arterial from SH 29 to Sam Houston Avenue and to a five-lane, undivided, major arterial from Sam Houston Avenue to FM 1460. The project also includes a shared-use path for pedestrians and bicycles on one side. This project will include engineering and right-of-way acquisition scopes of work from the 2015 bond.
Project 2: Shell Road |Anticipated $12.5 million
This 1.12-mile project consists of widening Shell Road to a four-lane, divided, major arterial from 500 feet north of Williams Drive to 300 feet north of Sycamore Street, with open-ditch drainage. The project also includes a shared-use path for pedestrians and bicycles on one side. This project will include engineering and right-of-way acquisition scopes of work from the 2015 bond.
Project 3: Williams Drive| Anticipated $10.2 million
This 3.18-mile project consists of replacing the existing center turn lane on Williams Drive with a landscaped median, with median openings and left turn bays at limited locations, to create a four-lane divided roadway from DB Wood Road to IH 35. In addition, the project will fill existing sidewalk gaps and repair failing sidewalks. This project will include engineering and right-of-way acquisition scopes of work from the 2015 bond.
Project 4: D.B. Wood Road | Anticipated $18.9 million
This 1.99-mile project consists widening the existing two-lane section of D.B. Wood Road to a four-lane, major arterial with open ditch drainage and a shared-use path for pedestrians and bicycles on one side. This project also includes installing a median in the existing center turn lane south of the Public Safety Center. This project will include engineering and right-of-way acquisition scopes of work from the 2015 bond.
Project 5: Leander Road | Anticipated $7.7 million
This 0.69-mile project consists of widening Leander Road to a four-lane, divided, major arterial from Southwest Bypass to Norwood Drive with open ditch drainage. This project will also include a grass median and sidewalks on both sides of the road. This project will include work from the 2015 bond.
Project 6: Austin Avenue Bridges | Anticipated $10.2 million
This proposition would provide funding to rehabilitate the bridges on Austin Avenue and construct a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the north and south forks of the San Gabriel River. The new pedestrian and bicycle bridge would cost $3.8 million of the total estimated cost to construct.
Project 7: Rockride Lane| Anticipated $5.8 million
This project consists of widening Rockride Lane from SE Inner Loop to Sam Houston Avenue to a two-lane collector road with a center turn lane, on-street bike lanes on the shoulders, and sidewalks on both sides of the road.
Project 8: Westinghouse Road | Anticipated $8.2 million
This project is a partnership between the City of Georgetown and Williamson County that would fully reconstruct the two-lane section of Westinghouse Road from FM 1460 to SH 130. This project includes improving shoulders and removing 90-degree turns.
Voters approved this project in the 2019 Williamson County bond. The total project cost is $20.2 million. City would contribute $8.2 million, primarily to improve shoulders on the two-lane section of the road. This cost roughly corresponds to the portion of the extension in the City limits, relative to the full project length.
Project 9: Sam Houston Avenue Extension / SE 1 / Wilco Corridor C | Anticipated $4 million
This 2008 bond project would provide the City’s portion of funding to extend Sam Houston Avenue (initially designated Southeast Arterial 1) as a two-lane road from Patriot Way to SH 29.
Voters approved this $22.5 million project in the 2019 Williamson County bond. The City’s $4 million contribution roughly corresponds to the portion of the extension in the City limits, relative to the full project length. Other funding sources for SE1 include Williamson County and the City’s 0.5 percent 4B sales tax associated with the Georgetown Transportation Enhancement Corporation (GTEC).
Allocations for other transportation infrastructure | Anticipated $10.45 million
The City of Georgetown 2021 Mobility Bond aims to increase roadway capacities and create new, safe connections within and among communities. In addition to the proposed roadway projects, a portion of bond dollars will be allocated to additional infrastructure projects including bicycle facilities, sidewalks, intersection improvements, and transportation technology upgrades. Funding would go toward priority projects identified in both the Sidewalks and Bicycle master plans, as well as prioritized intersections and corridors. Authorization from the 2015 bond could be used for sidewalk and intersection work.
In July 2020, City Council created a 16-member Citizen Advisory Committee to narrow down a list of projects for the bond program that address Georgetown’s overall transportation challenges, limit the burden to taxpayers, and reflect the public priorities. The advisory committee spent six months reviewing and evaluating 23 possible bond projects with an estimated total cost of more than $400 million. In January 2021, the Citizen Advisory Committee provided Council with rankings of the top 10 roadway projects and allocations for sidewalks, bicycle facilities, intersections, and transportation technology. The committee’s recommendations were informed by two rounds of public engagement.
For more information about Mobility Georgetown Bond 2021, visit bonds.georgetown.org.