Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today said she is committed to keeping the promises made to voters when they approved a quarter-cent sales tax increase to improve City streets. The tax goes into effect October 1, and Gaylor Baird said she expects to name an advisory committee and begin the public engagement process in the next two months.
"Streets are critical infrastructure that drive economic growth, create job opportunities, improve safety and contribute to our quality of life in our neighborhoods," said Gaylor Baird. "We are not missing a beat in the mayoral transition. Planning has already begun for the street work that will be completed with this new infusion of resources. We are committed to transparency, accountability, fiscal responsibility and public engagement from start to finish."
The sales tax increase approved by voters in April is estimated to generate $13 million a year for streets for six years. Gaylor Baird said the City will begin to receive revenues from the quarter-cent increase in December, and street work is expected to begin in the spring of 2020.
"During the first two years, the vast majority of resources will be directed to residential areas, and we will make street improvements in every quadrant of the City," Gaylor Baird said. "In years three through six, we will maintain this residential street focus, and at the same time, begin to bundle more complex projects that may include other infrastructure. Again, the additional funds derived from the quarter-cent sales tax will be used ONLY to address pavement conditions curb to curb. Any additional infrastructure improvements made at the same time as a street repair will be funded with other revenue sources for that particular type of infrastructure."
The public is invited to comment online and at open houses that will be held in each quadrant of the city. In November, the public will have an opportunity to testify at a public hearing as the City Council considers amendments to the Capital Improvement Program for specific projects. The public will be able to track the progress of projects at LincolnOnTheMove.com and through annual reports on the sales-tax funded projects from Lincoln Transportation and Utilities (LTU).
Gaylor Baird said some individuals and groups have already been contacted about serving on the Advisory Committee on Transportation (ACT). Others who are interested in serving or who want to recommend others to serve can contact LTU by 5 p.m. Friday, May 31 in two ways:
Although the additional sales tax does not take effect until October, Gaylor Baird said residents will see a great deal of street work across the City with LTU's existing funds. Projects include 96 blocks of residential rehabilitation; improvements to three major arterial streets; implementation of Phase 3 of Green Light Lincoln; and the use of impact fees to extend east "A" Street and expand intersections of east Van Dorn. A complete list of LTU projects is available online at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: projects).