Tacoma officials want new tax to pay for 'failing roads'

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:

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TACOMA, Wash. —

KIRO 7 hit the roads in Tacoma Sunday to take a look at the worst streets in the city.

City officials are making their case for a new tax on the ballot on Tuesday to pay for repairs.

The city is asking voters to approve Proposition 1, which would implement an additional 2 percent on utility companies, including publicly-owned Tacoma Power.

If the companies pass on the tax to customers, the city's website estimates it would cost an average household about $4.70 a month, or a little more than $56 a year more.

The city says the tax would create $10 to $11 million each year that would be set aside for road improvements.

Over the next five years, Interim Public Works Director Kurtis Kingsolver says that would fix thousands of additional potholes, repave hundreds of additional blocks, add more crosswalks in school zones, and repair more traffic signals.

But some voters are skeptical.

"It's just too much added taxes," voter Ron Bauer said. "The economy's taken a hard hit and a lot of the people need to hold on to the resources they have."

KIRO 7 took his concern to the mayor of Tacoma, Marilyn Strickland.

"Some people may say, 'I don't want to pay more,'" KIRO 7 said.

Strickland said that Tacoma Power customers pay 30 percent less than Puget Sound Energy customers.

She also believes the city can take steps to offset added costs.

"Tacoma public utilities is a billion dollar enterprise," she said. "I believe it's possible to look really hard and find some long-term savings that will benefit our residential customers."

 

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