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City Council Puts $3 Billion Road Repair Bond Issue on Back Burner

Public meetings will be held before the plan goes onto a future ballot.

Responding to an uproar by Neighborhood Councils and community activists, the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday dropped plans to put a $3 billion road repair bond measure on the May 21 ballot.

Councilmen Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino, who sponsored the measure, proposed holding it for a future ballot in order to "give the proposal more time for consideration by all Los Angeles stakeholders and to engage in a massive public outreach effort."

The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, the Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils, the Los Angeles Alliance of Neighborhood Councils and the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates had all adopted resolutions asking for a 60-day delay on the road repair bond proposal for "meaningful outreach" to city residents.

The council members asked the city attorney to draft language for a future ballot measure and referred the bond issue to the Public Works Committee, which Buscaino chairs. The committee will hold public meetings throughout the city.

“Providing for safe, well-maintained streets is one of the most basic core functions of city government, and is crucial to our economy and our daily lives,” Englander said. "We want all stakeholders—community members, Neighborhood Councils, chambers of commerce, community-based organizations and businesses—to have the opportunity to weigh-in, and that has always been one of the central goals of the street repair proposal.”

Under the proposed general obligation bond, the owner of a $350,000 home would pay about $119 per year in added property taxes over the course of the 29 years it would take the city to pay off the debt. The tax on a property's assessed value would start low and increase as the city borrows more heavily to fund the street repairs, with the rate eventually declining as the city stops borrowing more money.

The bond issue, called the largest infrastructure proposal in the country, would repair 8,700 miles of failing city streets over a 10-year period. 

Bureau of Street Services Director Nazario Sauceda told the council at a hearing last week that his bureau has effectively stopped repairing the city's worst streets, instead using its resources to maintain streets that are in good condition and worth saving. Replacing the current backlog of failed streets would take the city about 60 years under the current level of funding.

"It makes us look like we are a city in decline," Sauceda said.     

The councilmen said the bond measure is necessary, in part, because sources of state and federal funding for road repairs are nearly tapped out and are not expected to be replenished. Replacing and then maintaining failed streets would improve property values and make the city more attractive to businesses and investors, they said.

An informational website has been posted at https://sites.google.com/site/lastreetbond/home.

Read more about the City Council action here.

-- City News Service contributed to this report.

Jo January 17, 2013 at 12:46 AM
VOTE FOR KEVIN JAMES, not the 3 insiders (Gruehl, Perry and Garcetti). I died laughing today when I got a campaign flyer in the mail from Jan Perry that had a sinking ship on the front page...ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? Like she, a current LA City Council Member, is not responsible for the sinking ship; she and Gruehl and Garcetti are causing this sinking ship. They give away lavish pensions in exchange for union money to fund their campaigns. We need meaningful pension reform, not the joke of a reform this City Council did in the fall that only affect NEW young people and doesn't touch the police and fire departments. All they did was kick the can down the street; those new hires won't retire for 30 years and meanwhile the baby boomers are retiring to their lavish lifestyles in droves. And, all my friends that are retiring from LA City are making plans to move to Nevada so shelter their lavish pensions from the highest in the nation state income taxes. Vote for Kevin James. Vote all the incumbents out of office.
NRA Guy January 17, 2013 at 07:35 AM
When are you stupid people of Los Angeles are going to wake up. All these new taxes are going to raises for all government and city workers. Pretty soon your going to need a four wheel drive to get around these roads. Until you fools runs these bums out of office happy trails to all you chumps.
Rev M G Martinez, ULC January 17, 2013 at 02:42 PM
NRA GUY, where we're all these fiscally responcible people last Nov., voting for Obama??? The President is the biggest tax and spend offender IN HISTORY! Yet, he won L.A. by over 90%! If all these people would apply their self-righteous indignation, and reasoning to the national issues, Mitt Romney would be our next president! Go figure that one out, why don't you!
nonoise January 17, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Jo, even funnier then that was when in the debate in Eagle Rock Jan Perry said you should vote for her because her relatives lived under "Jim Crow" laws. Come on, she is using the race card for votes? That is crazy.
Greg Nelson January 17, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Bob: Profits within DWP's water and power funds are not automatically transferred to the city's General Fund. The City Council needs to request the money through an ordinance, and it requires the approval of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. There have been times when the board refused, or threatened to refuse.

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