Did you know that road funding is the only basic city service that requires periodic renewal by voters? The City Council voted 6-1, with Sarah Levison dissenting, to ask the voters for a 10-year extension of the Longmont streets 3/4 cent sales and use tax this November.
The tax helps pay for maintenance, operation and expansion of the City’s transportation systems. In 2014 the streets tax accounts for approximately 55 percent of the street fund revenues to the tune of $12 million. Examples of other sources of transportation funding include the City’s general fund and development impact fees, the Colorado Highway User Trust Fund and state and federal grants.
In the 28 years since the tax was approved, all of the maintenance and improvements to the transportation system have been funded in whole or in part by this funding source. Using these funds, the City has been able to provide the matching funds for grants from the state and federal government that have assisted in funding many major improvements.
The tax has been in effect since 1986 but has previously required voter approval every five years. Allowing less frequent voter approval will give the City the ability to do more long range planning and give allow Longmont to be more competitive in applying for grants.
Staff has outlined a list of projects if the tax passes in November, including improvements to Hover Street between Ken Pratt Boulevard and Boston Avenue (widening to six lanes), improvements to SH 119/Ken Pratt Boulevard from Nelson Road to S. Pratt Parkway (widening to six lanes), and the connection of Boston Avenue from Pratt Parkway across the BNSF railroad to Price Road. Included with these corridor projects are related intersection improvements that bring the capital improvement total to an estimated cost of $23.7 million over ten years. The City Council must approve an ordinance for the November ballot by August 12. NOTE: Longmont is not the only municipality with a streets tax. Other communities also rely on special taxes to fund road maintenance and expansion.