Lincoln city leaders say quarter-cent sales tax is only way to fix crumbling roads
Wednesday afternoon before a full house at the Lincoln Country Club Miki Esposito, the cities director of transportation and utilities, faced the Chamber of Commerce and addressed the quarter-cent sales tax that will go before voters in April.
Many of the cities roads are over 20 years old and in desperate need of repairs.
City leaders say the wheel tax just isn't enough to pay for all of it..
Esposito said the money generated by the sales tax is the only way she see to fix the problem, "About 50% of our neighborhood streets right now need complete reconstruction or complete rehabilitation. What happens if we don't infuse this kind of booster shot of funding into those streets then they just fall further and further into disrepair."
The tax would bring in 78 million dollars over the six–year duration or about 13 million dollars annually.
Twenty-five percent of the money generated would be set aside for new construction as the city continues to grow.
The money would only be used for street maintenance and improvements.
"After six years of deploying 138 miles of neighborhood rehab then we would take a look at the program and see how successful we've been. We would quadruple our project delivery in neighborhood streets."
According to a study done by the city, the quarter–cent sales tax would cost the average family about $31 dollars more per year, which is significantly less than if a wheel or property tax was added to fix the roads.
Esposito said they're not trying to tax people out of the city, but if it isn't passed the department will have to operate under a funding shortage leaving no money to repair or repave neighborhood roads.
"We could get to your street about every 400 years, I mean it's really a dramatic problem that needs attention now and it needs attention fast."
Voters will have the ultimate say on if the quarter–cent sales tax is approved. The measure will be on the ballot on April 9th.
If you would like more information about the tax click here.