Would you pay more to have smoother streets?

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Would you pay more to have smoother streets?

CREATED Jun 19, 2012

Reporter: Craig Smith

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - If you drive home on Tucson streets, it's bound to be a bumpy ride.
But would you pay more taxes to have a smoother trip?  It's a choice Tucson City Council may give you.

Here's how sad the situation can be in Tucson streets: There's a good chance you have memorized the worst potholes where you usually drive so you can avoid them. 
Now, Tucson City Council will consider setting a bond election that would let Tucsonans decide if they'll trade slightly higher taxes for smoother streets.

Bumping and bashing on Tucson streets is bringing cars to Brakemax for suspension repairs before their time.

John Amstutz of Brakemax says he sees: "…Cars with 70,000 miles on them, coming in, struts leaking, rebound cushions broken--a lot of things happening because of the streets."
With the city not getting enough from the state to repair enough streets, City Council is thinking of asking voters to okay a loan.  If voters say yes, the city would sell about 100 million dollars in bonds.  The money would come from a slight jump in the property tax rate.  Mayor Jonathan Rothschild says for a home assessed at 150 thousand dollars it would come to two or three dollars a month.
KGUN9 News asked him with money tight if voters might reject even a small hike.

Mayor Rothschild says: "My general sense is that people really want the roads fixed.  Probably the most predominant complaint I've received in the six months I've been in office has been about our roads."
So what do drivers think?

A driver named Harper told us: "Sounds like a good idea to me.  I mean, the streets are pretty bad.  They've been corroded for a long time, so...."

None of this will lead to instant results.  If City Council does set a bond election the vote can't happen before November.  Then they'll have to sell the bonds. The mayor says it would be 2014 before the money actually starts going into the streets. Until then the city will be able to continue patching potholes but long term solutions like full repaving projects would have to wait for the bond money.