Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vetoes funding for colonias initiative

Greg Abbott vetoes funding for colonias initiative.
Abbott on Monday vetoed nearly $860,000 in the state’s operating budget slated for the Colonia Initiatives Program in the secretary of state’s office.
The ombudsmen are tasked with assessing residents’ needs and advocating for improvements in communities that often lack access to drinking water and wastewater services.
They coordinate with local, state and federal officials to secure funding for water and infrastructure projects.
“Each of these agencies provides direct client services to Texans living in colonias, while the Secretary of State primarily serves in a liaison and reporting role," Abbott wrote in a document detailing his vetoes.
"It’s a big loss because a lot of these projects are complex, and have a lot of agencies involved, both local and federal," Perez said.
El Paso had 329 colonias with 90,582 residents in 2014, according to a report from the secretary of state.
About 1,967 people in those communities did not have access to drinking water or wastewater.
Lionel Lopez, director of the South Texas Colonia Initiative, said much of the work done in colonias is achieved through volunteer work and nonprofits like his own, not by state offices.
Despite the uneven workload, Lopez said colonias need more attention and funding from state officials like Abbott, not less.

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