Dallas May Wait Even Longer to Repair Its Streets

Will the potholes never end?

The road goes on forever — will the potholes never end? (photo: Flickr user articnomad)
The road goes on forever — will the potholes never end? (photo: Flickr user articnomad)

As the DMN notes, at a retreat next week the Dallas City Council will discuss the possibility of postponing until 2018 a $1 billion bond program initially planned to go before voters in 2017. The reason is that Mayor Mike Rawlings and some other council members want the city to pay down some of its outstanding debt before taking on any more:

As things stand, $235 million out of Dallas’ $3 billion budget will go toward debt service this fiscal year alone .

“That’s money that could be going toward other services,” said council member Lee Kleinman, who has advocated that the city pay for repairs only when it can afford to do so. “That’s money that could go toward streets.”

“We’re trying as a council to bring our credit card spending down,” Rawlings said.

Any delay could be a disappointment to residents eager to get repaired many streets that are now in a near-post-apocalyptic state. Councilman Philip Kingston sounds ready to serve as their champion on the horseshoe:

The council has been told it will cost $900 million alone just to straighten out the rough ride. The city is spending $40 million this year just to keep them from getting worse.

“Being careful with our borrowing is incredibly helpful,” said Kingston, who in November called for using the bond package to repair “the decaying city.”

“But we have critical infrastructure needs, and that is not wasteful spending,” he said. “In some ways he could be talking about cutting off our nose to spite our face.”

The possibility of postponement at the very least creates a strong opportunity for Mockingbird Pothole to make another run for office.

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Comments

  • MattL1

    “As things stand, $235 million out of Dallas’ $3 billion budget will go toward debt service this fiscal year alone .

    “‘That’s money that could be going toward other services,’ said council member Lee Kleinman…”

    NO IT COULDN’T! You’ve already established that it’s going toward debt service. We’re going to have to spend money fixing our streets sooner or later. If we do it later, it’s only going to cost more because the streets will have degraded that much more in the interim.

    • Hannibal_Lecter

      We’ve got to stop borrowing money and paying interest for 20 years to pay for repairs that might last 5 years (or in the case of Haskell Avenue, 5 months). Ordinary maintenance needs to be paid for out of operating funds, even if it means raising taxes. Living off credit cards like we’ve been doing is paving the road to being the next Detroit or Newark.

      • Mavdog

        Streets have a useful life of 20 years, it is realistic to use a 20 year bond to pay for streets.

        Thinking that a municipal government, or any similar enterprise, should not use debt to perform its functions is irrational. That’s similar to saying that if one doesn’t have the cash to purchase a house they need to wait to buy one until they do. Debt is not a problem if the debtor has the ability to pay for its use. Dallas does.

        Matt is correct, deferring of needed maintenance is more often than not a mistake as the cost of repairing gets larger the more time the work is deferred. Let’s take are of these infrastructure needs as soon as possible.

        • MattL1

          Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • Raymond M. Crawford

    Translation: We’re bailing out the Pension Fund.

  • dallasmay

    Hey, don’t blame me for this mess.

    • Poo Poo

      I blame your ugly alternative flag. You should avoid PhotoShop. We need a new flag, but not yours.

  • claytonauger

    None Dare Call it Conspiracy: Trinity “Park Way” funds will suddenly find their way into the revamped 2018 Bond package

    • Peter K

      Ding ding ding! Exactly right. The real estate industrial complex is at it again.

  • dallasmay

    Photoshop? Please. All of those pictures you have seen are real with none other than my own hand stitched flags.