Houston Way Accountability: Rebuild Houston “flood control” boondoggle to fund bike trails

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How tight is Houston’s drainage tax ‘lock box’? Bike trails funded by Rebuild Houston money for streets and drainage – Steve Miller, Texas Watchdog

It was passed by Houston voters as a tax to address the city’s decrepit drainage system and Third World streets. But $857,000 of the new Proposition 1 fund — which Mayor Annise Parker pitched as a “lock box that can only be spent for street and drainage improvements” — is slated for hike and bike trails.

The money will pay for “design, acquisition and construction” of trails as part of an overall plan to provide “an alternate route of travel for bicyclists and/or hikers away from street traffic,” according to the city’s latest capital improvement plan.

Shown the budget item, a chief proponent of Proposition 1 was baffled.

“The money was not supposed to go for hike and bike trails,” said Bob Jones, part of the successful Renew Houston effort. “This is not the intention for the money that we voted on.”

[snip]

“With a fee and placing that in the city charter, we would be prohibited from spending this money on anything other than streets and drainage,” Parker promised in an interview on the eve of the vote. “In an age of teabaggers and activism, this is forcing compliance from government.”

Apparently, this is how compliance and accountability look to the Parker Administration.

Just to recap…

Special interests (including a sitting councilmember) effectively constructed a new revenue stream (tax) for a slush fund to benefit themselves address neglected drainage issues.

Along with those special interests, Mayor Parker misled the public about the true average monthly cost of the new tax.

And for good measure, Mayor Parker, while campaigning for this boondoggle, used a tired LibDem vulgarity to refer to Tea Party activists who have been demanding fiscal accountability from government.

So, how many readers are surprised by this development? Please chime in.

BLOGVERSATION: Harris County Almanac, Texas Conservative.


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