ON THE ISSUES
Travis County is responsible for the construction and maintenance of our county roadways, trails and sidewalks. Providing timely maintenance and reconstruction is a basic responsibility, but it is vital that Travis County also work together with other regional elected leaders and entities to develop a comprehensive transportation network that moves people around the region efficiently and safely.
Whether you get around by automobile, public transit, bicycle, or on foot, Becky will work to bring much needed transportation projects from concept to completion. This includes addressing safety issues across the county, in particular Highway 71 West, FM 620, South MoPac, and other high-speed/high-volume corridors.
In these challenging economic times, it is imperative that county government operate in the most efficient manner possible to reduce the burden on taxpayers. Affordability has been a great challenge to the Central Texas community for years. Now, with many out of work and the future of our economy uncertain, we must prioritize expenditures and focus on the core services that government exists to provide like roads, infrastructure, and first responders.
Becky will look for creative partnership opportunities with local municipalities, special districts, school districts, and the healthcare district where tax dollars and will be collectively leveraged to provide better services at a lower cost. It’s about doing more with less right now, and that is why Becky is 100% opposed to the Project Connect election and opposed to the county’s proposal to raise taxes due to the COVID-19 emergency. This is not the time to be raising taxes on people who are unemployed or underemployed. It is the time to get creative and provide new and innovative solutions to the challenges we face.
Homelessness is a problem facing many major American cities right now, but it is particularly acute in Austin due to a backlog of housing developments and a lack of affordable housing options. The City of Austin exacerbated the problem recently by re-writing local ordinances which facilitated the creation of “homeless camps” throughout the city. These changes have also resulted in a steady increase in crimes involving the homeless, notably violent crime.
Becky is committed to ensuring that these self-inflicted problems facing the City of Austin do not bleed out into the county, particularly our county parks and open spaces. She will work with the myriad of non-profits and local agencies to find partnerships that can be created to address the causes of homelessness, provide much-needed services, and work toward providing more affordable housing. Leasing properties to house the homeless, as the City of Austin is doing with various hotels, is certainly not going to address this growing problem.
Of the four commissioner precincts in Travis County, Precinct 3 has that largest amount of “open space” consisting of parks and wildlands. In 2019, the Greater Austin area ranked 5th amongst all metro areas in the nation for wildfire risk. This ranking compared the number of residential structures at risk (53,984) to the total reconstruction cost ($16.35 Billion).
It is vital that Travis County be a leader in the region to develop wildfire preparedness plans and mitigation measures. This includes work with each ESD to create, implement, and update existing mitigation plans, as well as do a better job of cleaning up open spaces.
Our region has been plagued for years with both devasting droughts and Biblical floods. The causes for these extreme patterns range from population increases to land use changes to the ever-changing environment, among others. The one thing that is clear, however, is that our water supply is at risk.
Becky will work with county planners to develop and implement water recapture plans for Precinct 3. She will also work with regional and state leaders to develop ground water conservation districts in order to ensure that future generations have an abundant and reliable supply of water.
It is projected that sometime in 2021 the City of Austin will become the 10th largest city in the United States. This fact coupled with the announcement that several large employers will be relocating to Central Texas increases the urgency of being prepared to accommodate that growth to protect our quality of life. Having been involved in hundreds of development projects throughout her career, Becky knows what it takes to work with landowners, developers, and various community stakeholders to create optimal outcomes for all sides.
Further, while Travis County has no official authority to intervene in the City of Austin’s “Code Next” disaster, many of the properties impacted by the proposed land development re-write fall under the county’s jurisdiction. Becky will fight on behalf of any of her constituents who would be negatively impacted by the changes the city is proposing.