Hays County, south of Austin, will ask voters to approve a 1.8-cent tax increase to support $159 million of road bonds under a scheme known as pass-through financing.

Under the pass-through system, local governments provide up-front financing for projects and are reimbursed by the Texas Department of Transportation based on the volume of traffic once the roads are built.

In Hays County, improvements are proposed for Interstate 35, Farm Road 1626, and U.S. 290. The county would get up to $133 million from TxDOT based on traffic surveys.

Hays County financial adviser First Southwest Co. proposes raising the county’s tax rate of 45.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to 47.6 cents in 2010 and lowering the rate again in 2030.

Voters rejected a $172 million bond package in May 2007 that would have financed the county’s portion of the proposed road construction, and the issue has remained a source of controversy.

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