Raleigh Officials Seek Bond Referendum For Road Improvements
Posted March 24, 2005 4:57 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh city leaders said it'll cost the average homeowner $20 a year if voters approve a road bond referendum in the fall.
The city said that with a decrease in Department of Transportation money from the state, it'll do the job itself.
The money would go to several projects such as replacing the rickety old Falls of Neuse bridge, synching traffic lights all over town, and widening and repaving Lake Wheeler Road.
If Raleigh waits for the state to fund all of those road improvements, it could take a decade or more to get on the DOT funding list.
"It's really not a fair system but that's the way it is and we've just got to look after ourselves since we can't change the state system," said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker.
The mayor and some Raleigh leaders said a $40 million road bond referendum is looking after city residents.
There are several road improvement ideas and nothing is final.
What is for sure is a 1-cent tax increase to pay for it. If your home is worth $200,000, it'll cost you $20 more per year.
"We shouldn't have to pay twice, once in our gas tax and in our real property tax, but since the state isn't doing it, we now have a choice," Meeker said. "And that is the citizens can decide this fall whether they want to go ahead and make these improvements and list which ones they are, or do they want to sit back and wait 10 years -- the people can make their choice and then we'll have the majority rule."
City Councilman Mike Regan was out of town but wanted WRAL to make his stand on the the road bond clear.
He said there is no way he'd vote for it if it raises taxes. He said city government has all the money it needs to improve roads like Lake Wheeler, and there's no need to ask the taxpayers for more money.
If the council approves the plan, the road bond will go before voters in October.