Kansas City Mayor Sly James details the city’s plan to resurface streets and holds up a sign to thank voters for approving Question 1. Leslie Collins
By LESLIE COLLINS
September 11, 2012
“From a city staff standpoint, this is long overdue,” City of Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte said of street resurfacing.
Schulte, along with Mayor Sly James and other city officials held a press conference Sept. 11 to announce the city will begin major street resurfacing projects this fall.
Thanks to Kansas City voters approving Question 1 in August, Kansas City will be able to double it’s road resurfacing budget this fiscal year, bringing the total funding to $6 million.
Question 1 eliminated several fees and taxes, replacing them with a 1/2 cent sales tax to fund the Parks and Recreation Department and street maintenance.
Since the city won’t begin collecting the tax until January, the city will immediately appropriate $3 million from the General Fund to go toward street resurfacing. Once the city begins collecting the sales tax revenue, that revenue will be used to replenish the General Fund, Schulte said.
City officials stressed they didn’t want to wait until the next fiscal year to begin street resurfacing and wanted to take advantage of the mild weather now.
City Council member Russ Johnson said the additional funding will allow the city to resurface an extra 30 road miles this fiscal year. Once the tax is in full swing, the city will be able to resurface 200 road miles annually, Johnson said.
“This is going to be far more than we’ve ever done,” he said. “The most we’ve ever done in one year was 180 miles, so doing 200 miles will be a record for Kansas City, Mo.”
City officials said they hope to begin road construction in October and will focus on the most trafficked roads in dire condition. City officials also want to coordinate road repairs with new development, said Public Works Director Sherri McIntyre. McIntyre cited the example of replacing curbs along Grand Boulevard between Crown Center and resurfacing nearby streets prior to the grand openings of LEGOLAND and the Sea Life Aquarium.
Public Works will focus on several routes this fall and top priorities include: Van Brunt from 12th Street to Truman Road; Charlotte from 6th Street to 12th Street; 9th Street from Grand to Charlotte; 10th Street from Grand to Charlotte; Shoal Creek Parkway from 76th Street to Highway 152; Prospect Avenue from 31st Street to 20th Street, Bannister Road from Raytown Road to Norfleet, among others.
The new sales tax is expected to generate $30 million annually.
“This is a great step in the right direction in fixing what is our most predominant infrastructure need and what residents have told us for a decade in these Citizen Satisfaction (surveys) – fix the streets,” Schulte said. “We couldn’t be happier for the first time being able to put significant resources in that effort.”