Rice UniversityOffice of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations
Rice expert available to discuss Houston-area flood control bond election
HOUSTON — (Aug. 17, 2018) – As Harris County residents vote on a $2.5 billion flood control bond issue a year after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Rice political scientist Robert Stein is available to discuss polling data predicting the outcome of the referendum.
Sixty-two percent of likely voters support the bond, according to a University Houston survey. Stein, the Lena Gohlman Fox professor of political science at Rice and a fellow in urban politics at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, was part of the survey’s research team.
“Support for the bond is strongest among likely voters (62 percent supporting the bond),” he said. “Support declines to only 55 percent among persons less likely to vote. Higher turnout could threaten the adoption of the proposed bond. Elections officials estimate the turnout not to exceed 10 percent of registered voters, increasing the likelihood the bond will be adopted.”
Early voting for the bond referendum has already begun. Election Day is Aug. 25, the first anniversary of the day Hurricane Harvey made landfall.
Stein said the county estimates the money needed to complete all proposed projects exceeds the proposed $2.5 billion bond; federal funding will be needed to complete many of the projects. Failure to adopt the bond would prevent the county from undertaking new flood control projects and greatly hinder its efforts to obtain matching federal funds, he said.
A side effect of the bond’s adoption might be reduced support for the city of Houston’s drainage fee, Stein said.
“Voters in this November’s election will have an opportunity to vote on the city’s Rebuild Houston program, funded by a drainage fee charged to property owners to fund flood control …