Fort Worth city staff is recommending a $500 million bond set to go before voters next year be increased by $60 million and that the bulk of the additional money be spent on streets.
But that amount represents 18% of the estimated cost of street projects staff identified are needed.
Specifically, there is an additional 11 necessary street projects estimated to cost about $324 million, but city staff said most will have to be covered by Tarrant County, the state or the federal government or wait until the city’s 2026 bond.
During a meeting earlier this month, Councilman Cary Moon pushed city staff to add street projects that are north of Loop 820 to the city’s 2022 bond.
“There are teenagers who have died in head-on collisions on these county roads, so it’s more than just dealing with congestion and being late to and from work,” he said.
If the now $560 million bond passes in May, the city should incentivize contractors to complete these street projects as soon as possible, Councilman Leonard Firestone said.
Both men intended to meet with city staff to determine which streets identified as being potentially funded by a 2026 bond could go into the 2022 bond.
In an interview with the Fort Worth Report on Dec. 21, Moon said those meetings had been successful, but he did not yet have a firm list of the projects that would get the additional funding. He did, however, say that three, grade-separated railroad intersections would be funded.
“That’s a big deal. Imagine driving on Weatherford Street downtown and having to stop every time because we didn’t have a railroad crossing,” he said.
The meeting at which the bond was discussed eventually devolved into council members pushing for street projects in their respective districts.
The Glen Acres, Oak Grove and McPherson neighborhoods were promised street improvements when the city annexed them. The city hasn’t delivered, and now, residents there are experiencing flooding, Councilman Jared Williams said.
“If you come into District 8 and your car doesn’t have hydraulics on it, you’ll hit a pothole and think you have,” Councilman Chris Nettles said.
But Mayor Pro Tem Gyna Bivens said that if the bond is to even pass, Council’s message to the public “has to be one of unity.”
They’re expected to discuss the projects again Jan. 18 and call for a bond election Feb. 8.
Similar bonds have recently passed. In November, voters approved a $400 million transportation bond brought by Tarrant County. Fort Worth is expected to receive about $72 million from that, and City Manager David Cooke said on Dec. 23 that he is hopeful Fort Worth will receive more of the county’s bond money that has not yet been committed.
Jessica Priest is an investigative journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at email@example.com or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.