A $100 million road bond has been given the green light by Midland voters, who also approved each of the seven state constitutional amendments.

The bond, which was divided into two propositions – Proposition A to reconstruct roads and Proposition B to repair the utility infrastructure beneath the roads – passed by an average margin of 1,700 votes.

After a failed Midland Independent School District tax increase in 2016 and a failed 4B election in May of 2017, this is the first local ballot initiative in years to gain the approval of Midland voters. It also generated a much larger voter turnout than past special elections, indicating that the timing of an election plays a direct factor in voter participation.

For example, MISD’s tax election, which took place on October 8 (a non-uniform election day), saw a meager turnout of 8.93 percent, while 10.78 percent of registered voters participated in the city’s 4B election on May 6 (a uniform election day). This election, which took place on a uniform election day, produced a total voter turnout of 13.48 percent.

According to city officials, bond funds will be distributed in $25 million increments over five years, with 74 percent going towards roads and 26 percent towards underground utilities. A breakdown of which city roads are slated for repairs can be reviewed on the road bond’s campaign website, midlandroadbond.org.

Given the failure of the quarter-cent 4B sales tax in May, the city had two options to present to voters this November for additional road funding: a property tax-supported road bond or a quarter-cent sales tax specifically dedicated to roads. By opting for a bond with a total price tag of $167.4 million including interest, Midland property owners will see a hike in their property tax bill. For a home valued at $250,000, the increase will amount to approximately $100 annually.

Now that voters have approved the bond, Councilmember J. Ross Lacy has indicated that the city will begin taking steps towards construction immediately, including placing requests for proposals on the November 21 council meeting agenda for the first set of road projects. Construction is estimated to begin early 2018.

Lauren Melear

Lauren Melear leads the West Texas Bureau of Texas Scorecard. When not working, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog, as well as cooking, working out, traveling to the hill country, and cheering on the fightin' Texas Aggies.