Monday, February 7, 2011

Writer Wants Street Fee

Spokesman-Review Letters To The Editor
Street fee needed

There are Third World countries with better streets than Spokane.

You might ask why are we having all the problems with potholes. They are not happening on streets that have been repaved in the last seven years, but on streets that haven’t been repaved in 25 years. These streets have patches on their patches and should have been repaved.

The city used to do asphalt overlays where they ground down the edges and added 1 1/2 inches of new asphalt to the existing roadway. Now they wait until the street fails and has to be torn out to subgrade and completely replaced, which is twice as expensive.

We need a street utility fee like the ones used by sewer, water and refuse so we can pay for the streets we so desperately need. The method they are now using isn’t working, and they are expecting the streets to last for 25 years.

We can afford to pay the city spokesperson $87,000 a year but we can’t afford new streets. What’s wrong with this picture? Contact your city council person and demand new streets in a timely manner.

Rick Johnson

Okay, I support the part in this letter about needing a street fee but I'm not down with the part about the City spokesperson making $87,000. If he's referring to Marlene Feist, I'm not sure she makes that much, but she should with all the junk she has to put up with. She earns her money every day. She was my boss when I was at the City and I told myself everyday I would get a nice waitressing job if my job ever became even a fraction of how hectic Marlene's is. Besides, that's comparing apples to oranges. $87,000 doesn't pay for much in the world of transportation unfortunately.


Charles Hansen said...

Many of the streets are in bad shape, and it is because of deferred maintenance for the last 25-35 years. The street bond helped, but it will take a couple more just to finish the streets that need help and by then the first ones will need to be done over again. So now the question is how to pay for the needed repairs, do we get another bond, a street utility, a gas tax, an extra $20 on licenses? I really do not like the flat tax on everyone, but to tax those that use the streets more. Problem is few of the alternatives that are available will tax the heavy user more.

SRTC Staff said...

The City is already working on the next Bond behind the scenes, so that will help some, and discussing a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) again ($20 tab fee), so that's promising, but what about all the other jurisdictions?

I'm hearing that the movement toward a regional TBD will be resurrected again soon. No matter what local leaders decide to pursue to bring in money for transportation, it's going to be a hard sell to the public right now. While the economy is getting better, folks are still pinching pennies. And the public sector is getting hit hard right now, which is pretty standard. Seems like hard times hits the private sector first then trickle down to the public sector later.

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SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

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