Local Politics

Raleigh voters get say on how to pay for wider streets

Posted October 5, 2017 6:30 p.m. EDT

— Voters will do more than elect Raleigh leaders in the Oct. 10 election. They also will decide whether the city can issue $206.7 million in bonds to expand some local thoroughfares and pay for other transportation upgrades.

"This bond is going to address those needs effectively, whether it's large or small, immediate or future," said Wayne Maiorano, a former City Council member who now is working with the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce's Raleigh for Roads campaign advocating passage of the bond referendum.

About $142 million of the bond total is earmarked for streets, such as Six Forks Road, Blue Ridge Road, Tryon Road and Atlantic Avenue.

Another $6 million would be used to convert Blount and Person streets downtown from one-way to two-way traffic, while $14 million would go to install sidewalks throughout Raleigh.

Paying off the bonds, if approved, would add $32 to the annual tax bill on a $250,000 home.

Ed Jones with the Wake County Taxpayers Association said spending bond funds on more bike lanes, roundabouts and streetscaping projects is a waste of taxpayer money.

"We think they should tighten up the budget and pay for these repairs and street work out of the regular budget," Jones said.

Raleigh's referendum is separate from the Wake County transit referendum voters approved last year, which added a half-cent to the local sales tax rate to expand bus and train services countywide.