Texas Border Business
By Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr.
During the 2019 Legislative Session, the Legislature approved ten constitutional amendments. Proposition 2 is one of them which can help thousands of families with millions of dollars in regions like ours with critically needed water and wastewater services. If supported by voters, Prop. 2 would allow our state’s water agency to sell bonds and use those proceeds to help build water supply and wastewater facilities that are greatly needed in distressed areas. This is a historically important opportunity for Texas. Together, we can create a continual bond authority of up to $200 million, at any one point in time, to help communities like ours in South Texas. That is why I respectfully ask for your help.
Since 1989, the Texas Legislature has invested millions of dollars to fix the lack of water and wastewater problems created by unscrupulous developers. At that time, with the Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP 1), we invested $250 million in bond authority to help affected communities. Because EDAP 1 only provided a portion of the needed funding, in 2007, I worked to help families and authored Senate Joint Resolution 20 to provide an additional $250 million for distressed communities all across our state. Fortunately, Texas voters approved the associated constitutional amendment in 2007. Together we passed, funded, and created the EDAP 2 Program and helped thousands of families with critical services.
Earlier this year, our state water agency reported that unfortunately the bond authority I authored in 2007 (EDAP 2) had all been exhausted and there was still a strong need to help families. In response, I wrote two legislative initiatives that reform and maximize bond financing. By authoring Senate Joint Resolution 79 (Prop. 2) and its enabling legislation (Senate Bill 2452), I, along with my House Sponsor Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D-El Paso), provided $200 million in new, revolving bond authority to help communities, like those in South Texas, meet their critical water and wastewater needs.
Next month, Texas voters will have the opportunity to support our Prop. 2 on the November ballot. If we have enough voters behind us, we will be successful in passing, creating, and funding EDAP 3 which will provide up to $200 million, at any one point in time, in continual bond authority.
Knowing how much our communities are in need of these resources, we made sure that we put into law the right reforms to ensure that this new program maximizes state funding. For example, in Prop. 2’s associated legislation (SB 2452), we ensure that the Texas Water Development Board is allowed to supplement the new $200 million bond authority with other financial resources available to the agency. We also include fiscal directives and safeguards to encourage greater public-private partnerships to maximize the effectiveness of these bonds, as well as to guarantee that these funds are used solely on projects intended to serve economically distressed areas. We wrote these reforms in our state statute in order to strengthen our state’s resolve to help families and communities like those located on, or near, the Texas border with critically needed water-related infrastructure.
That is why this coming November families in distressed communities need your help. Will you join me in my long-standing commitment to help families in economically distressed regions have safe drinking water and direly needed wastewater services by making sure Proposition 2 passes?
As author of EDAP 2 and EDAP 3, I thank you in advance for considering joining me in delivering millions of dollars to provide families in South Texas, and in distressed areas, with the necessary water and wastewater services their communities seriously need by helping to establish EDAP 3 with your favorable vote. Please vote YES for Proposition 2 this November.
Once again, I sincerely thank you for your consideration and support.
Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D – Brownsville) represents Cameron, Hidalgo, Kenedy, Kleberg, and Willacy Counties. He is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations; Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education; Member of the Senate Committees on State Affairs; Veteran Affairs & Border Security; and of the Select Committees on Redistricting; and, Texas Ports. Elected in 1991, Lucio is third in seniority.