Tue October 30, 2012
Dallas Bond Propositions: Could Be Bumpy At The Bottom Of The Ballot
Bumpy, rough streets and frequent flash flooding are city of Dallas priorities on Election Day next Tuesday. But, proponents of the 2012 bond package are worried voters may bail out of the ballot before the propositions at the bottom.
Dallas driver Jeremy Shorr says there are a lot of streets need fixing. He says the sound of a rough ride on some north Dallas streets provides a kind of soundtrack to his daily commute.
“I don’t drive a single road in Dallas that doesn't have problems somewhere,” said Shorr.
The three Dallas bond propositions call for more than $600 million in street repair and flood control: as well as money for economic development targeting southern and west Dallas.
Former Dallas City Councilman Alan Walne says there’s nothing glitzy about this bond election, unlike years past when voters approved Arts District projects, the Trinity River development and a designer bridge.
“I’d say it’s a critical need type bond issue,” said Walne. “I think for that reason we don’t have any organized opposition.”
But there is a possible snag. The three propositions are at the very bottom of a long ballot, and Walne is concerned people may skip them. So is early voter Craig Schenkel.
“I don’t know if people even go that far down. I think it’s just straight ticket punching now. It’s critical,” Schenkel said. “Our infrastructure is crumbling, so yes, we need it.”
Proposition 1 is $260 million dollars in street improvements and reconstruction, hike and bike trails, and alleyway upgrades. Walne says Proposition 2 is $325 million for flood control to handle flash flooding from runoff in targeted neighborhoods.
“One of the primary areas that’s being improved on is the area around and including Baylor Hospital,a Trauma 1 Center for the city of Dallas as well as the county,” said Walne.
Flood control projects also include the Fair Park area, around the Farmers Market downtown and between Victory and the State Thomas area Uptown where drainage creeks were routed into underground pipes and paved over.
“All this watershed’s coming down from the north,” said Walne. “These were creeks that were conduited-over years ago, but they weren’t anticipating the kind of runoff that we currently have to contend with.”
Proposition 3 is $55 million for infrastructure related to transit oriented development in southern Dallas.
Passing a bond issue is like taking out a loan, and Walne says this one won’t raise the tax rate. The city has paid off older bond debt and refinanced other so the city’s total amount of debt remains about the same.
Early voter Walter Goodman says he would have voted for the bond propositions with or without a tax hike.
“Well, I would have voted for it even if it meant a tax hike because we had to have it done," Goodman said. "That’s just part of living in a big city.”