Should L.A. Pursue Massive Street Repair Bond?

Two L.A. City Council members have floated an ambitious proposal to fund the city's backlog of needed road repairs. At a time when the city is expanding transit, and seeking other tax hikes, should $3 billion in street repairs be a top priority?
January 7, 2013, 8am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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There's no question that Los Angeles's streets, and drivers, are suffering from the city's 60-year backlog of necessary street repairs. "Councilman Mitch Englander, who introduced the proposal along with Councilman Joe Buscaino, said residents are already paying for the cost of the damaged streets through wear and tear on their cars," reports David Zahniser. “The No. 1 complaint we get in our office is the condition of our streets,” Englander said. “This would be an opportunity to fix every single failed street citywide.”

But at a time when the city is investing billions of dollars in encouraging residents to leave their cars at home, suffering from an equally dire backlog of needed sidewalk repairs, and pursuing a half-cent sales tax increase to fund public safety and other basic services, should the city be asking residents to pitch in for road repairs?

Critics, including Mike Eveloff, president of the Tract 7260 Homeowners Assn., "warned that the property tax hike could depress the city's economy and 'break the camel's back' for taxpayers."

"Crisis management always costs 10 times more than good management, and this is just another example," he said. "The city’s reached a place where everything’s falling apart and now they’re saying 'Well, you don’t get good streets unless you pay more taxes, you won't get police unless you pay more taxes, and you won’t get a good fire department unless you pay more taxes.' So it gets a little frustrating."

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Published on Friday, January 4, 2013 in Los Angeles Times
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