Rice expert available to discuss Houston-area flood control bond election

Rice University
Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations


David Ruth

Amy McCaig

Rice expert available to discuss Houston-area flood control bond election

HOUSTON — (Aug. 17, 2018) – As Harris County residents vote on a $2.5 billion flood control bond issue a year after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Rice political scientist Robert Stein is available to discuss polling data predicting the outcome of the referendum.

Robert Stein

Robert Stein

Sixty-two percent of likely voters support the bond, according to a University Houston survey. Stein, the Lena Gohlman Fox professor of political science at Rice and a fellow in urban politics at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, was part of the survey’s research team.

“Support for the bond is strongest among likely voters (62 percent supporting the bond),” he said. “Support declines to only 55 percent among persons less likely to vote. Higher turnout could threaten the adoption of the proposed bond. Elections officials estimate the turnout not to exceed 10 percent of registered voters, increasing the likelihood the bond will be adopted.”

Early voting for the bond referendum has already begun. Election Day is Aug. 25, the first anniversary of the day Hurricane Harvey made landfall.

Stein said the county estimates the money needed to complete all proposed projects exceeds the proposed $2.5 billion bond; federal funding will be needed to complete many of the projects. Failure to adopt the bond would prevent the county from undertaking new flood control projects and greatly hinder its efforts to obtain matching federal funds, he said.

A side effect of the bond’s adoption might be reduced support for the city of Houston’s drainage fee, Stein said.

“Voters in this November’s election will have an opportunity to vote on the city’s Rebuild Houston program, funded by a drainage fee charged to property owners to fund flood control and drainage projects,” he said. “Many city voters might believe that adoption of the county’s bond for flood control programs will make the city’s Rebuild Houston program and its accompanying drainage fee unnecessary and vote against continuing the program.”

To schedule an interview with Stein, contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6777 or amym@rice.edu.

Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.


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Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,970 undergraduates and 2,934 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.

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About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.