Top 10 reasons to support Prop. 1 to fix Tacoma roads

No more studies. No more special task forces. No more excuses.

It’s time to vote yes for Proposition 1 and finally fix Tacoma’s “busted and broken” streets. It’s time to make needed repairs and safety upgrades to roads, crosswalks, intersections, arterials and bridges across our city.

As citizens who care deeply about Tacoma’s economic future and the safety and quality of life in our neighborhoods, here are the top 10 reasons we support Proposition 1.

10. Doubles street repairs and safety upgrades citywide: If approved, Prop. 1 will double street repairs in every neighborhood. In the next five years, hundreds of residential blocks will be repaved, 18,000 more potholes will be permanently fixed, 46 neighborhood school safety zones will be improved, 70 intersection signal timings will be upgraded, and sidewalks and crosswalks will be repaired.

9. Doubles restricted street funding annually, to an additional $10 million to $11 million: The ballot title couldn’t be clearer. Funds are legally restricted “for the sole purpose of funding basic maintenance and upgrades citywide for roads, arterials, bridges, permanent pothole repairs and pedestrian safety upgrades.”

8. A 2 percent tax on utility company earnings. The 2 percent tax on utility company earnings for natural gas, telephone and electricity would be restricted and dedicated to street repairs and safety improvements.

7. Utility rates already 30 percent cheaper in Tacoma: As reported in The News Tribune, “Customers of Tacoma Power have the benefit of lower utility rates compared to the rest of the region, about 30 percent cheaper than area competitors.” For our large industrial users, the rates are 73 percent lower than the competition’s.

6. Less than $4.72 per month for average homeowner: Even if utility companies pass on the cost to ratepayers, the cost will be cheaper than fixing a flat tire after hitting another pothole. Tacoma Public Utilities has already said that if Prop. 1 passes, there will be no rate impact this year.

5. Utility discount rates of 30 percent for lower-income seniors: For seniors on fixed incomes and lower-income families, Tacoma offers generous payment assistance programs, including 30 percent discount rates.

4. Costs of street repairs 14 times more expensive if we wait: Prop. 1 focuses on projects in every neighborhood that extend the life of streets before they deteriorate beyond repair. Streets repaired every seven to eight years last 80 years at a fraction of the cost of replacing entire streets.

3. Creates jobs and stretches funding: Prop. 1 will create hundreds of good family-wage jobs now when we need them. Construction costs are low and will help us stretch the funding further and make more needed street repairs and safety upgrades. In addition, if Prop. 1 passes and local voters invest in our streets, Tacoma will qualify for an estimated $40 million in state and federal grants over the next five years alone.

2. 1968: That’s the last year when Tacoma voters approved a dedicated street repair levy with 69 percent support. Let’s do it again.

1. Endorsements: Dozens of grass-roots organizations across Tacoma have joined in support of Prop. 1, including the Ministerial Alliance, Metro Parks Tacoma, the Tacoma School Board, Stand for Children, Urban League, Asia Pacific Cultural Center, Black Collective, Young Democrats, Conservation Voters, Association of General Contractors, Pierce County Labor, 27th District Democrats, and individual Realtors and small business from across Tacoma.

1968 until 2013. That’s 43 years. As The News Tribune reported, 1968 was “a year before man walked on the moon. Today many of Tacoma roads resemble the surface of it.”

Please join us in voting yes for Prop. 1 to finally fix Tacoma’s streets and make needed safety upgrades in every neighborhood. It’s time.

Port of Tacoma Commissioner Clare Petrich and Mark Martinez, executive director of the Pierce County Building & Construction Trades Council, are co-chairs of Fix Tacoma Streets – Yes on Prop. 1.