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Waste Watch: $66 Million Needed To Repair Taylor Roads
Jeff Matchett is one of several residents in Taylor, Texas who is frustrated with the city's poor road conditions. Matchett is the lead technician at Central Auto and Truck Repair in Taylor and knows first-hand about the current conditions and its devastating impact.
"They need to be fixed," Matchett said. "Not only is it the wear and tear on vehicles, the extended construction project is hurting businesses on this road."
According to a recent street inventory done by the City of Taylor, 52 percent of the city's roads are in "failing" standards, 61 percent are in "poor" condition, and only five percent are in "excellent" condition.
Jeff Straub, Taylor's Assistant City Manager, said it is going to cost the city an initial $66 million to repair 71 percent of the roads. Straub said street issues have not been addressed for decades and hopes the city can start strategizing to fix the problem.
"Our annual budget to include utilities here is about $24 million, so it's a large, large issue to address," Straub said.
Straub said the money to cover reconstruction has to be issued through debt.
The city said the number one priority is getting the 14 percent of "fair" graded streets up to the standard of "good." Straub said to keep the current streets from falling into the "failing" category the city will need $4.1 million up front.
"The longer you wait to maintain, the more it costs," Straub said. "What happens is folks see the dollar amount and become overwhelmed, but we can't afford to be overwhelmed."
Straub said it is a problem that has worsened for more than five decades.
The city said one option to help cover the cost of repairs is to ask voters in May to approve a street maintenance utility bill, which is a monthly transportation fee that would cover the costs of some reconstruction. Austin's current charge to residents is $7.80 in each bill.
By Cassie Gallo