Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA roads could get $3 billion makeover with bond proposal

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Brian Watt/KPCC

Under the bond proposal, the average Los Angeles property owner would pay $99 a year more over a 20-year period to resurface and reconstruct 8,500 lane miles throughout the city.

Los Angeles property owners would pay more on their tax bills for road repairs under a bond proposal that will be considered by the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday.

Councilmen Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino are backing a 20-year, $3 billion bond that would repair 8,700 lane miles of failing roads through the city – both residential streets and main thoroughfares. Low interest rates are part of the motivation for seeking funding that would address decades of neglect along L.A.’s streets.

“Roads have been neglected for 50 or 60 years and not been properly maintained," Englander said. "The fact is, what are we going to do now to put Los Angeles back on the map?” 

 The program would likely cost property owners an extra $99 per $350,000 of assessed value annually for a 20-year period. In the first year, that figure could be as low as $24. The city's budget office is still calculating the expected costs. 

Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, opposes the proposal. 

“The question is: why should only homeowners and property owners pay for these increases in the conditions of the road? This is a problem that’s existed for years,” Close told KPCC’s AirTalk. 

“The public believes that the city council cannot be trusted to effectively and efficiently use money it has.” 

In 2008, Los Angeles County voters approved Measure R for public transportation and highway projects. Under that, $7.7 million was made available for street repairs in the City of Los Angeles. The city budgeted $105 million for street repair and maintenance this year. 

The Englander-Buscaino proposal would provide $300 million a year for resurfacing and reconstruction projects. Repairs would be made over a 10-year period. The city's Bureau of Street Services could not recall a bond measure for street repairs being put to voters in recent history.

The L.A. City Council will vote Wednesday on whether to draft an official proposal for the May 21 ballot. If the proposal makes it way onto the ballot, it would require a two-thirds vote for approval.

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