A joint City-County project that could significantly reduce flooding in Spring Branch is being delayed by Turner’s insistence that his cronies get more of the work. The neighborhoods in the vicinity of Neuens Road have repeatedly flooded due to poor, outdated drainage infrastructure. For years, the City has been talking about doing something about the structural flooding problems in the area, but nothing ever happened.
In the last year, residents’ hopes were raised by a tentative agreement between the City and Harris County to finally address the problems in that area with a five-phase project.
But the future of the project is now in doubt because Turner has reneged on his original promise of “guaranteed funding” from the City’s Capital Improvement Plan. Apparently, the City now wants to change the funding source to a federal grant, which would substantially delay the project. Read more here. But the deal with the County is also reportedly in jeopardy because Turner has demanded that the County, which will manage the project, use “his” MWBE subcontractors.
Folks, this is absurd. Spring Branch residents have been paying their share of the $110 million of the drainage fee since 2012, but have seen little drainage work in return for the money they have paid the City. Since it was implemented in 2012, the City has collected almost $1 billion in drainage fees. The cost of the Neuens project is less than 2% of what has been collected by the City!
Don’t be surprised if Turner suddenly claims to have “found” the money to do the project. But we have learned that his promises mean nothing. If Spring Branch residents want their drainage fees spent on fixing the drainage, it will take a new mayor.