Salt Lake City officials estimate $20 million needed to get roads to fair condition

Apr 4, 2018, 6:14 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2018, 2:04 am

SALT LAKE CITY —  People living in Salt Lake City want better roads, more police, affordable housing and better transit. Now they need to figure out how to pay for it.

The city is eager to move ahead with major improvements on some of it’s critical needs.  A one-time sales tax hike and a bond that would have to be approved by the voters, appear to be the most likely funding options.

A recent pavement survey in the city revealed two-thirds of the roads in Salt Lake City are in poor condition, or worse. Only one-third are in fair condition, or better.

“It’s not good right now,” said Mike Reberg, the Lake City Director of Community and Neighborhoods. “A big bond could really go a long way to moving us from the poor category into a fair category.”

The city estimates it needs $20 million for the next 10 years to get the general road conditions up to fair. After that, it needs to spend another $20 million a year to maintain the roads.

When it comes to housing, the Neighborhood and Development division has identified a 7,500-unit gap in affordable housing for people making $20,000 or less. The division recommends a budget of $5 million a year to implement strategies in the Growing Salt Lake Housing Plan, to include: providing low-interest loans to affordable housing developers; assisting with down payment strategies; and, providing a case manager for those looking for affordable housing solutions.

To address neighborhood safety concerns, the city wants 50 new police officers for 23 neighborhood beats.

“We have to be in the neighborhoods, in all neighborhoods,” Police Chief Mike Brown said.

Right now, he says, they don’t have enough.

“When a sergeant puts out his crew, which neighborhood doesn’t get a cop?” he asks.

The police chief believes 30 to 50 officers would fill out the roster.

“These initiatives are designed to really make this city better for all residents,” said Reberg. “They are really interconnected in a way.”

A better transit system, he said, may keep some families from buying a second car, which frees up more income for housing, and puts less wear and tear on the roads.

“They’re not like separate menus,” he said. “They’re all, sort of, together, really designed to create a better city for everybody.”

The city is also asking people to fill out a a survey online on each of the four issues. That’s at Fundingourfutureslc.com. The city could vote on the sales tax hike in two weeks. It will gather feedback on the potential bond over the next few months.

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Salt Lake City officials estimate $20 million needed to get roads to fair condition