EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- A panel of Eugene citizens is recommending the City go back to voters this November for another five year bond measure.
The recommendation comes from the city's Citizen Street Repair Review Panel, a group of eleven Eugene residents who recently met to assess the work done to date.
In 2008, Eugene residents passed a $35.9 million bond measure to help reduce a huge road repair backlog, which at the time was around $170 million dollars. This bond expires in 2013.
A little less than four years later, the group reports the effect of that road repair funding has gone well. However, repair panel committee members say another measure is necessary.
The panel is recommending a property tax of 65 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value - that's about two cents more than the 2008 bond measure. According to Eugene Public Works, this would cost an average Eugene homeowner approximately $127 per year.
The $35.9 million from 2008 will continue to be spent through summer 2012. Work has already started on one project to improve curb ramps around the areas of 24th Avenue and Chambers Street.
More than half of the $15 million in road work slated to commence this summer will come from this measure.
Eugene Public Works says another five year bond would help it realize big savings in the long run, as there is about $118 million dollars of road repair work left to do. The only other major road repair funding source is a gasoline tax.
"What we're trying to do with a big part of this bond money is catch streets before they completely fail and now we have to go out and dig them from the ground up, and now it costs 4 to 5 times more than if we could just go in and put that overlay on, and now they're good for another 20 years and that really gets the problems under control,” says Eric Jones, Public Affairs Manager for Eugene Public Works.
The 2008 bond funded 54 street repairs, about 22 more than originally expected.
If Eugene voters pass a new street repair bond in November 2012, it would take effect in 2014 and raise $43 million, covering needed work on about eighty streets, according to Eugene Public Works. The agency says part of the money would benefit bike lane repairs and other active transportation projects, too.
The bond measure idea is just a recommendation at this point. Next, Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz will go to City Council at a work session on May 23, 2012, to pitch the idea. If the council agrees to move forward, the measure could be placed on the November 2012 ballot.
Major projects are planned in Eugene for summer 2012. In all, Public Works says it will tackle 42 traffic lane-miles worth of city street repairs.
Major thoroughfares include Coburg Road from Beltline to Willakenzie, MLK Junior Boulevard from I-5 to Centennial Loop and Green Acres from Norkenzie to Delta Highway.
Others are Goodpasture Island Road from Kingsley to the new Delta Bike Bridge, also downtown intersection on Washington and Jefferson Streets and Royal Avenue from Highway 99 to Waite Street.