Tulsa officials planning a Fix Our Street renewal proposal
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Monday, December 17, 2012
2/15/13 at 2:48 PM
Follow the progress of the city’s Fix Our Streets program.
A $470 million investment in the next Fix Our Streets effort would bring Tulsa's streets up to a 64 average score on the 1-to-100 Pavement Condition Index, a public works analysis shows.
Spending $200 million more would boost the city's arterial and residential roadways scores up to a 69 average.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett and the City Council are in the early process of crafting a five-year Fix Our Streets renewal proposal to take to voters, likely next fall.
A main topic of discussion is how high of a score to shoot for when there are other city needs that must be considered for funding as well.
The goal has been to eventually reach an average 70 score - essentially a "C" grade - and maintain it.
"This just shows you the envelope," Engineering Services Director Paul Zachary said recently in presenting the figures to elected officials. "It's the scores and the dollars that it would take to reach them."
A $452 million Fix Our Streets package approved by voters in 2008 was really to stop the death spiral of Tulsa's street system.
The initiative dedicated almost as much money to fix the city's cracked and crumbling infrastructure as the previous six tax packages combined.
The first Fix Our Streets expires in 2014 and will have increased the arterial score from 60 to 62 and residential score from 58 to 60.
That may not seem like much of an improvement, but had the investment not been made, Zachary said the scores would have dropped to the low 50s.
Councilor G.T. Bynum was closely involved in crafting the first Fix Our Streets package and is heading up the council's task force that with the administration is assembling a renewal proposal.
A realistic goal, Bynum said, is the 64 score. That would mean making an investment of slightly more than in the first effort.
Reaching a 70, he said, was always expected to take three packages over the course of 15 years.
"At this point, we've stabilized things, but they are stabilized at a level that is vastly inferior to what we want them to be," Bynum said, calling the first effort "an emergency measure."
"The plan has been to keep making progress and to show voters what they are getting for their money so they will continue their support."
Fix Our Streets includes a variety of funding sources, including the one-third cent sales tax that the city has historically used for a variety of purposes such as public safety equipment, facility upgrades and utilities.
The council and administration will hear from department heads about needs that should be funded, besides street repairs, to determine what else will be included in the proposal.
"What I'm hearing from the general public is that we need to continue funding streets at least at the current level," Bynum said. "What's added to that is really where the space for discussion lies."
Bartlett said the 64 score is a good goal for the renewal proposal.
"That will allow us the opportunity to do more things from an infrastructure standpoint," he said.
"But to be certain, the streets are still our priority. It's vitally important that we keep these scores headed in the right direction so we don't wind back up in the dire situation that we were in five years ago."
Original Print Headline: A renewal of Fix Our Streets fund under study
Brian Barber 918-581-8322
Mayor Dewey Bartlett: He says it's important the city's streets don't fall back into the state they were five years ago.
G.T. Bynum: He says the first Fix Our Streets was an emergency measure.