AirTalk for March 19, 2014

LA City Council proposes sales tax bump to fund sidewalk and pothole repairs

Department of Transportation Warns Of Aging U.S. Infrastructure System

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City of Los Angeles Public Works Department Street Services workers repair a sidewalk on August 12, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

Potholes and damaged sidewalks have plagued Los Angeles for decades. Now city officials are proposing a sales tax hike to help pay for the much-needed repairs.

On Tuesday, the city's top budget official released a report recommending a half-cent sales tax increase to raise $4.5 billion. The 15-year tax hike would raise $3.86 billion to fix streets and $640 million for damaged sidewalks. The estimated cost for a typical household would be between $75 and $108 a year.

The city says there are currently 8,700 miles of city streets that must be completely reconstructed. At the current rate of repair, it would take 60 years to reconstruct all 8,700 miles.

The length of sidewalks in need of repair are harder to estimate, but the funds raised by the tax are expected to be enough to fix significant portions of the city’s damaged walkways.

Could the sales tax increase fix the issue? What are the barriers to get this proposal passed? Why has LA’s streets and sidewalks been left in such disrepair? 

Guests:

Alice Walton, KPCC politics reporter

Mitchell Englander, L.A. City Council member representing District 12 in the San Fernando Valley.

Jack Humphreville, a columnist with the CityWatch blog


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