AUSTIN – In an unprecedented election where parks became a major issue at the top of the ballot for the Governor’s race, at the bottom of the ballot, a number of quieter ballot propositions racked up major gains for Texas parks, recreation and green space. In bond elections in Austin, Houston, Dallas, Irving, Williamson County, Rosenberg, Bee Caves and West University Place, voters approved more than $623 million in bonds to acquire new park land and natural areas and to improve recreation facilities.
“Parks and recreation won big on the ballot yesterday,” said Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger. “At a time when many parks are suffering and natural areas are quickly being eaten up by sprawl, millions of Texans put their money where their mouth is and made a big investment in green spaces, water quality, playgrounds, bike trails and in our overall quality of life”.
The bonds included:
Proposition 2 - $50 million for protecting land in the Barton Springs watershed - passed with 68.76%
Proposition 3 - $84.7 million for parks and recreation – passed with 72.81%
Proposition 3 - $343 million for parks and recreation – passed with 81%
Proposition C - $55 million for parks – passed with 64%
Proposition 3 - $56,475,000 for parks and recreation – passed with 69%
Proposition 2 - $22 million for parks – passed with 60.72%
Proposition 3 - $3.5 mil for parks – passed with 64%
West University Place
Proposition3 - $2 million for parks – passed with 51%
Proposition - $7 million for parks – passed with 77%
Grapevine voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase that will mean millions more for parks and other public priorities
Environment Texas played a major role in the passage of Austin Propositions 2 and 3, contacting over 20,000 voters by deploying canvass staff door to door and in busy public places in the Austin area for the last nine months.
Metzger contrasted the strong support for parks funding of local governments with that of the Texas Legislature’s.
“Local governments are clearly doing their part and it’s time for the state to step up”, said Metzger. “If there was any doubt left in the Legislature’s mind about public support for Texas parks, the votes yesterday should clear that up. Texans want a state with abundant parkland for recreation, where our rivers and streams are protected, and where wildlife has a place to survive and thrive.”
Metzger called on the Legislature to follow the recommendations of a blue-ribbon parks advisory panel which this summer urged lawmakers to increase funding for state and local parks by $85 million per year.