Following their agenda briefing on Feb. 17, City Council discussed transportation needs and a possible bond referendum as a way to help pay for them.
At the same time state funding for area transportation projects has been constrained, Wilmington’s transportation needs keep growing, according to city traffic staff. However, property tax revenue can’t cover the millions of dollars worth of projects need to ease traffic congestion, build sidewalks and add multi-use paths/bike lanes that are a high priority of citizens.
Transportation improvements are a high priority of citizens according to the 2012 Citizen Survey: Improvement of traffic flow on city streets and maintenance of city streets/sidewalks were two of the top three priorities rated by citizens. Much of the maintenance needs put on hold during the recession are now being addressed through the city’s 5-year infrastructure improvement plan. However, significant funding for new transportation projects have not been set aside since the $14 million transportation bond passed in 2006. That bond helped fund projects such as the North 3rd Street improvements, Randall Parkway and Independence widening and additions to the Cross-City Trail.
More multi-use paths, sidewalks and ways to improve traffic flow are among the most common ideas being heard from citizens at neighborhood planning meetings currently being held around the city to get public input on a long-term plan for growth.
So far, a list of potential projects has been identified (see presentation below), which City Council will consider before it is finalized. Council members Laura Padgett, Earl Sheridan and Kevin O’Grady have been appointed to bring a final recommended list to Council in the next few months.
In addition, criteria for determining which projects have priority will be finalized, along with cost estimates for each of the potential projects identified.
In addition, City Council has asked to get an update on the city’s ongoing 5-year infrastructure improvement plan, which is funded through property taxes, and begin looking at potential projects that would be funded in a future infrastructure plan after this one is completed. Council can then look at both lists together to determine how potential bond-funded projects might mesh with future property tax-funded infrastructure improvement plans.
Click here to see the presentation City Council saw on Feb. 17