City streets plan should be next top priority
BY World's Editorials Writers
Friday, November 09, 2012
11/09/12 at 2:50 AM
The final fate of any resurrected Vision plan is not yet known. Will some revised package be brought back to voters any time soon? Will local leaders give up on the idea? We just don't know yet.
But we do know that there's still plenty of work to be done on our streets and other infrastructure projects. Therefore, city councilors are right to turn their attention to renewing the popular and effective Fix Our Streets program, which is set to expire in the summer of 2014.
In the wake of the failure of the two Vision2 propositions, several city councilors are making the point that lots of time and public input are needed to ensure voter support for a continuation of the Fix Our Streets program. A major criticism of the Vision2 package, which would have funded airport improvements and quality-of-life projects, was that it was sprung on voters with little public input. The reason was the pending bankruptcy of American Airlines.
"Hopefully this (Vision2) vote has made clear that there's a right way and a wrong way to approach these kinds of proposals," Council Chairman G.T. Bynum said.
Fix Our Streets, a $462 million street improvements package approved by city voters in 2008, is funded by several different revenue sources: the third-penny sales tax, the city's share of the county's former 4-to-Fix sales tax, and general obligation bonds.
Because the third penny has traditionally helped fund a variety of capital needs other than streets, it is anticipated that the next Fix Our Streets package will include more than transportation infrastructure. Police cars, fire equipment, park improvements and other projects from the city's $2.8 billion capital wish list likely will be part of the next initiative, which could go before voters next fall. The new five-year plan could generate about $800 million.
Obviously a good deal of soul-searching and analysis need to take place before another Vision package is brought to voters. But we've got a solid, proven track record with the Fix Our Streets program. Let's get an extension of that initiative in the works and let's do it, as Bynum puts it, the right way.
Original Print Headline: More to fix