If voters pass Travis County’s Proposition A this election cycle, it will be a first step in a long journey to rebuild and revitalize the Exposition Center, best known as the site of the Star of Texas Rodeo. Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion and NAACP president Nelson E. Linder say this type of investment will also yield benefits for East Austin.
What Proposition A Does
At an October 9 press conference, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt explained that the proposition would put the county first in line to receive 2% of the existing hotel tax collected by the City of Austin. That funding would be made available if and when the city decides they can spare it. That might be a while, as the city is still paying down debt from the last time they expanded the Convention Center and have plans to upgrade the facility again.
Potential Benefits to People Displaced From East Austin
Rising property tax bills forced many African American families to move from East Austin to suburban areas further east and north of the capital city. “When you look at Pflugerville, it’s a 20-minute ride down the road, Manor it’s a 10-minute ride. Del Valle is even closer. It’s almost the epicenter of the region,” Travillion said, from the grounds of the Exposition Center. Travillion would like to see a Cap Metro park and ride location on the property. One of Travillion’s goals as a commissioner is to improve transportation options in the metro area.
Linder says the proposition is a prime example of how Austin can provide better opportunities for those who have been traditionally left out of the city’s economic boon. He asks voters to “make their voices heard” by voting for Travis County Proposition A and adds that this project would encourage others to invest in the area. He mentions a future with better jobs, housing, and schools spurred by the proposition.
Economic Benefit of Rodeo Austin
Rodeo Austin, the principal tenant of the Exposition Center, hosted the press conference to show their support for Travis County Proposition A. In the last year, the nonprofit organization generated $77 million in economic impact for the city of Austin and awarded over $2 million in scholarships, according to their annual report. An expanded and updated Exposition Center will allow them to “give more scholarships and educate more of the community,” according to CEO Rob Golding. He also states that the revitalization project will bring jobs to the area, primarily in construction and services.
More jobs, more education and better transportation are easy outcomes to back, but even if the proposition passes, there are still a lot of ifs surrounding when the 2% will be available, how far it will go and how quickly the longed-for benefits will materialize.
Our Vote Counts
Decisions on public investment are important to the community but often overlooked, especially in years when there are no elections for national office. Voter interest and turnout are low. However, a low turn out means your vote is more significant than ever. Make your voice heard.
Early voting in Travis County runs through November 1.