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Gov. Perry Calls On Texans To Approve Water Proposition

Updated: Wednesday, October 9 2013, 08:19 PM CDT

Governor Rick Perry says a $2 billion Rainy Day Fund payment that would be authorized if a state constitutional amendment is approved would be "seed money" to help spur $30 billion worth of water projects.

On Wednesday Perry joined fellow lawmakers calling for voters to approve an amendment to the Texas Constitution.

It would use the $2 billion in funds from the state's Rainy Day Fund to finance major water infrastructure projects.

"We're talking about projects like new reservoirs, state of the art desalinization plants, and pipelines to keep water flowing from reservoirs," said Governor Rick Perry.

According to the Texas Water Development Board, the $2 billion would be deposited into the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT). The SWIFT money would be used to lower the interest rates or extend the payment terms on loans that they make through the $6 billion bonding authority. In other words, the SWIFT money is the critical piece that provides the financial incentives project sponsors need to use the bond authority for water supply infrastructure. Over the life of an infrastructure loan, the lower interest rates or deferred payments that would be possible because of the SWIFT money can save borrowers significantly, sometimes millions of dollars.

"It basically establishes a savings and loan where local projects can seek funding and pay those funds back," said Goldthwaite City Manager Rob Lindsey.

In time, the funds are paid back with some sort of interest and that money could be used to fund projects for the next 50 years.

"It's not money to make it rain, but it is money that is available through no new taxes to fund different types of water projects," said Texas State Senator Kirk Watson.

According to the TWDB there is no priority list at this time. However, the legislation for Proposition 6 creates a two-tiered prioritization system that will go into effect if the proposition passes. The first is at the regional level where local leaders would be able to work to identify critical water supply projects for their areas. The second tier is at the state level and will be administered by the TWDB.

"We wait on the voters," said Governor Perry. "They must approve Proposition 6 if we are to make these plans become a reality."

The referendum will appear on the November ballot.

If Proposition 6 passes, the funds would not be available until March 2015.

By Adam Racusin

Gov. Perry Calls On Texans To Approve Water Proposition


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