This post taken from Mayor Pete Lewis’ March 9 update. You can sign up for the Mayor’s weekly update and other alerts here
Will Auburn Keep Moving?
In the midst of that I was a meeting with the CEO of the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce. Nancy Wyatt met with me to go over the citizen- led bond issue on the ballot April 17th. She remarked that almost four years ago I had called a group of people from all over the community including citizens from all parts of the city, business and school folks to join a Mayor’s task Force on Arterial Streets. They worked for more than a year at my request to advise me on what major corridors of freight and commute we could close to truck traffic and latter reduce speeds (in some instances down to 15 mph) as the big routes could no longer be maintained to handle heavy traffic.
The reality is that the city gets less than $700,000 per year as its remaining share of the state gas tax. That’s about enough to pay for the crack sealing and the patching you see on the big streets. All the rest of the money is gone. Not one dime in all of the fees charged on trucks by the state has ever gone to the cities to maintain roads and we have been told repeatedly it never will go to cities. There is no money from the county, state or federal governments for repair or maintenance of arterials roads, and we are told there is not likely to be in this decade.
So I asked them to give me an order of which roads to close to trucks, which ones we would start reducing speed limits on (to keep the street open longer) and they did. We also gave them the information that said according to the most recent citizen survey, Auburn citizens told us if they had to pay ten bucks a month on something that repair and maintenance of roads is the highest priority. Then this group came back with a list of streets and asked how much it would take to get them either repaved or replaced dependent on how bad they were and we gave them the cost. They honed down the list and we gave them the cost.
They asked how much it would cost if the whole thing was done in ten years with most of the work done in the first five years and we gave them those figures. If the bond measure passes, the funds will go exclusively to preserving and rebuilding the big roads like Auburn Way N and “A” and “M” and “I” and West Valley as well as Lea Hill Road, 37th and up the hill for 292nd, Lakeland Hills and more as well as the big connector streets as well. There’s a map showing all of the arterial roadway projects needing repair on the city’s website at www.auburnwa.gov/sos.
They requested an oversight group be set up, with the intention of establishing a mechanism whereby any monies collected go into a segregated account overseen by a Council approved Transportation Benefit District (TBD), with input from a Citizen’s Advisory Board. Both such District and Committee were set up last year. Keep in mind the state of Washington defines the board of a TBD as the city council. The Citizen’s Committee recommended because they knew the impacts of the Great Recession that they wanted any monthly or yearly cost to start low by bonding for projects year by year. That was the approach the city took.
The Transportation Benefit District voted to put a bond measure on the ballot for April 17th and the Auburn City Council also passed a Resolution in support of the bond measure as allowed by law.
If the bond measure passes the average home would have an increase in property taxes of less than $3 a month in 2013 and 2014 and less than $6 per month in 2015 and 2016. It would get up to about $8 or $9 by 2018 and then start coming back down as the first bonds were paid off. Same goes for businesses.
The Group is called Citizens to Keep Auburn Moving and it is a $59 million bond issue requiring a 60% vote on April 17th. If you want more factual information like the map or the costs go to our website at www.auburnwa.gov/sos . If you want to email us with questions or comments go to email@example.com. If you have questions of the citizens’ committee – Citizens to Keep Auburn Moving, you can email the chair Terry Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org (between terry and davis there’s an underscore _) or (253) 261-1586.
You Can Help
I cannot tell you how to vote on this. I can ask you to cut and paste this part of my email and send it out to all your friends, all of your email lists plus tell everyone you know about it.