LA Council members put street repair plan, tax hike on hold

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Angeles’ backlog of broken streets will have to wait, with Los Angeles City Council members saying today that an effort to repair 8,200 miles of deteriorating city streets has reached a roadblock.

City officials had proposed putting a half-cent sales tax hike onto the November ballot to raise money for the repairs, but that plan has been dropped, City Councilman Mitch Englander said.

Work on the Save Our Streets proposal has been “terminated,” Englander said in a statement.

He and City Councilman Joe Buscaino first introduced the goal to fix all of the city’s damaged streets in 2013.
Buscaino said it was “after thoughtful and careful consideration,” that they “decided this November is not the best time to place the Save our Streets LA (SOSLA) measure on the ballot.”

The city’s “infrastructure crisis” is more widespread than its streets, and extends to sidewalks and its stormwater system, he said.

“Before asking voters to open their wallets, we owe it to them to thoroughly and exhaustively explore all options, and to ensure that we are maximizing the use of every tax dollar we receive by operating as efficiently as possible,” he said.

This also would give city officials an opportunity to incorporate upcoming recommendations from City Controller Ron Galperin, who conducted an audit of the city’s pavement preservation program, according to Buscaino.

Englander said after they “delved into the complexities of maintaining and updating our infrastructure, it became obvious that the single biggest impediment” was the need for a consistent source of funding to pay for the repairs.
“The (funding) sources that we have depended on have been reduced, are restrictive, or have disappeared entirely, leaving a larger and larger gap for which the only eligible backfill source was” the city’s operating fund, Englander said.

The announcement was greeted with approval from Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“Now is not the right time to ask voters to raise taxes,” he said. “Right now, I am focused on reforming City Hall and making our departments more efficient so we can provide better services to our residents including street repairs.”
“I want to thank councilmen Englander and Buscaino for their exhaustive review of various options to fix our streets,” he said.

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