Road Runner

Survey hammers home need for better streets

2013-09-16T00:00:00Z 2013-09-16T11:06:04Z Survey hammers home need for better streetsBy Joe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Fix the darn roads.

That’s the message residents delivered more than 500 times when answering an online survey of where they’d like to see county bonds spent.

The condition of our rutted and pitted network of streets easily outstripped cute puppies and kittens, parks and open space and even the don’t-spend-my-tax-money-on-that rhetoric when taxpayers and bond voters — assuming they actually ever hold a bond election — were asked what matters most.

Documents released by Pima County show asphalt got a total of 560 comments in the recently-completed county survey, compared with only 335 supporting more funding for the Pima County Animal Care Center, 179 supporting acquiring more open space and 319 comments favoring keeping the money in the bank.

The complaints come weeks after the start of new construction related to the voter-approved Proposition 409.

The city plans on spending $20 million on road construction in this fiscal cycle; about $17 million will go to main streets.

The city will set aside 15 percent — roughly $3 million a year — for fixing up residential streets, which have not yet been identified.

The city will spend much more than $100 million on roads once they are done in 2019 between the cost of repaying the debt and complying with federal standards, including building ADA-compliant infrastructure.

While the survey has identified roads as a top priority for voters, it is unclear whether homeowners would be willing to pony up $18 on every $100,000 of assessed value to do so.

For now, the issue is moot with County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry recommending putting off any bond vote until at least until 2015.

The question for the next online survey, however, might be, “How much are you willing to pay?” after asking what voters want to spend their hard-earned dollars on.

DOWN THE ROAD

• The Sun Link Streetcar will be pulled by a tow truck along sections of the 3.9-mile course between 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. this week to test the electrical system.

Later in the week, the overhead system will be energized, and the streetcar will be tested along sections of the alignment at very slow speeds during overnight tests.

• A Regional Transportation Authority contractor will begin paving the Church Avenue and Sixth Street intersection this week. Drivers should expect lane restrictions during the paving operations.

Send your questions by email to roadrunner@azstarnet.com or to 4850 S. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85714. Please include first and last names.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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