City to Consider Sales Tax Hike to Raise $4.5B for Street Repairs
By City News Service
Los Angeles’ top budget adviser Tuesday recommended going to voters with a half-cent sales tax hike to pay for street and sidewalk repairs.
The proposed tax hike to 9.5% would be for 15 years and raise about $4.5 billion for the “Save Our Streets” plan being pushed by City Councilmen Joe Buscaino and Mitch Englander.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said it would take an estimated $3.86 billion to fix the “city’s worst streets” and about $640 million to repair the “city’s worst sidewalks.”
The earliest the proposed tax hike could be put on the ballot is this November.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which derives funding from sales tax, also is considering asking voters to pay more, but not until 2016.
Santana’s report, responding to 24 suggestions and instructions gleaned in several public meetings, was prepared at the direction of Buscaino and Englander.
The report, released Tuesday, is being made available at SOSLA.org., and a public briefing on the plan is set for April 2 at City Hall, according to the councilmen.
“Our streets form the backbone of our local transportation system,” they said in a joint statement. “Every visitor, every resident, and every business owner uses our streets and our local economy is dependent upon the ability to move people and goods throughout the city.”
“It is critically important that all stakeholders understand the seriousness and importance of this issue, engage in the conversation, and work cooperatively toward finding a solution,” they said.
Englander and Buscaino said street maintenance had been under-funded from the 1950s until the 1990s, resulting in the deterioration of 8,700 miles of city streets.
The council members initially suggested a bond measure to fund the street repairs, but opponents of the idea said the financial burden of fixing city streets should not be placed solely on property owners.
Santana offered the sale tax alternative, saying it would be more equitable and include taxes from “those who do not live within the city.”
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March 20, 2014 Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.