Bond Measures to Fix Streets
On November 8, 2022, Eugene voters resoundingly approved a fourth street repair bond measure. The $61.2 million, five-year bond serves as an extension of the 2017 street bond. The money will be utilized to fund specific improvements:
- Repairs to 42 street projects covering 44.6 lane miles of roads throughout the city.
- $15 million for walking, biking and safety improvement projects to include bike lanes, crosswalks, off-street paths, pedestrian bridges and street tree projects.
These projects are slated for construction between 2025-2029.
The cost to the homeowner is $0.63 per $1000 of assessed property value, the same rate as the 2017 street bond measure. For an average home assessed at $267,531 this costs approximately $169 per year in property tax.
As with the 2008, 2012, and 2017 street bonds, an outside auditor and citizen review committee will review completed street repair projects after each construction season to determine whether the bond proceeds were spent consistent with the bond measure. They groups will also produce an annual report for the City Manager and Eugene City Council.
The 2022 bond measure set aside significantly more money than previous bond measures for walking, biking, safety and street tree projects. City staff are charged with drafting a specific project list for the walking, biking, safety and street tree projects utilizing. The project will utilize the following criteria to create a list:
- Projects and policies identified in the Transportation System Plan, Vision Zero Action Plan, and Climate Action Plan 2.0;
- Geographical distribution throughout the community;
- Community input on walking, biking, safety, and street tree needs.
The draft project list will be shared with the community for feedback before going to the Eugene City Council for approval by November 1, 2023.
Current Condition of City Roads
The City’s transportation system includes more than 500 miles of streets, with a replacement value of more than $1 billion. Even with proper maintenance, streets deteriorate and eventually need repair. Signs of wear and distress include rutting, cracking and potholes. However, if addressed early enough, only the surface of a deteriorated street needs to be replaced, instead of the entire street. Resurfacing a street is significantly more cost effective than a full rebuild, which includes a new road base.
Public Works staff prepare the Pavement Management Report on an annual basis. It provides a look at the current condition of city roads. At the end of 2021 Public Works estimated there were $87.6 million in needed street repairs throughout the city, a significant decrease since 2008, when voters first approved a street repair bond.
History of Road Repair Funding
In 2000 the capital budget didn’t include funding for preservation of the street system. At the time it was estimated there was about $53 million in needed street repairs. By 2008, that number had increased to $171 million and was projected to grow to more than $280 million in 10 years.
A majority of funding for current street repair projects comes from two sources: street repair bonds and a local gas tax (implemented in 2003). Combined, they account for nearly $12 million a year for street repairs, with the bond money accounting for about $9 million of that total.
According to the Pavement Management Report, about $15.4 million is needed per year over the next decade to return all streets to good condition and keep any additional streets from needing to be reconstructed. Once this is achieved, it’s estimated the annual street repair budget would be $11 million.
In 2008, Eugene voters approved a five-year, $35.9 million bond measure to fix city streets. Voters again showed their support for street repairs with the approval of a new, $43 million bond in 2012 and a $51.2 million bond measure in 2017. The proposed 2022 bond measure would serve as an extension of the 2017 bond measure.
When voters approved the bond measures, they also approved a specific list of streets to be improved. In 2008, the measure promised to fix 32 streets. Because of economic factors and cautious spending, crews were able to fix an additional 10 streets with the 2008 bond money.
The 2012 bond included a list of 76 streets to be fixed and provided an average of $516,000 per year for bicycle and pedestrian projects. City staff are on target to meet the objectives of the 2012 bond. Because of continued favorable bids and resourceful spending, staff funded additional streets in 2019 using remaining money from the 2012 bond.
The 2017 bond measure, which started in 2019, committed to making necessary repairs and improvements on 91 streets. As of July 2022, staff are on track to complete all of the 2017 bond projects by 2024.
Working with the Active Transportation Committee and under the guidance of the Transportation System Plan, the city has also identified and completed an average of $1 million in safety improvements for people who bike and walk.
Road Bond Transparency
The bond measures established several levels of accountability. The bonds require an outside auditor and citizen-led committee to evaluate the City’s work on an annual basis. The citizen-led committee, the Street Repair Review Panel (SRRP), is comprised of a number of different stakeholders from throughout the community. Each member brings a different background and area of expertise to the panel.
The auditor and SRRP work independently. Each year they file a report after researching the previous summer’s construction work. The reports are then reviewed by the City Manager and presented to the Eugene City Council. All of the reports can be found on the City website.