RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Progress comes with a price and the people of Raleigh get the final say on whether it’s worth the cost.
In a couple of weeks, voters will be asked to approve a $206.7 million bond to improve our streets.
“70 percent of Raleigh residents in certain polls have said that traffic is the No. 1 issue and I think that if it is that overwhelmingly identified as something that should be addressed by the city hopefully this is a small price to pay,” said Bo Dempster, volunteer with Raleigh for Roads Committee.
A little more than $6 million would convert Blount and Person streets to two-way streets, which Raleigh Senior Transportation Planner Jason Meyers says will improve the flow of traffic.
“One of the things that that project has to do is distribute the traffic equally to be parts of the street, to both Blount Street and Person Street. The idea is coming off of Hammond we’re not sending high speed traffic into that South Park neighborhood.”
Another $10 million will allow the city to begin the design process extending West Street under the North Carolina railroad corridor between Martin and Cabarrus streets, which city officials say provides a critical connection to the new Raleigh Union Station, but it’s the only project on the list not fully covered by the bond.
“It’s the city’s intention to seek state or federal money through probably a competitive grant process much like Union Station was funded to be able to build the entire project and this is also our match for that,” said Meyers.
Nearly $30 million will go towards improvements on Six Forks Road, including adding sidewalks and bike lanes.
“Vote with your pocketbook and your common sense,” said Dick Hillard, Member of the Wake County Tax Payer’s Association. “It’s time for the city of Raleigh to do things that are needed for the citizens today. Often we prepare so much for those we hope to come while growth is necessary. We can’t always be spending today’s people’s money for tomorrow’s citizens.”
Hillard is against the bond. He thinks the city could make the necessary improvements without forcing residents to shell out more cash and he fears there are many more transportation bonds to come.
Voters would foot the bill in the form of a property tax increase, about $20 more a year for the average home owner. The transportation bond will be on the ballot for Raleigh voters on October 10.