City voters approved a $75 million transportation bond issue by 70 percent to 30 percent, setting the stage for a series of road projects and a 1.12-cent property tax hike next year.
Sig Hutchinson, who led the pro-bond campaign, said he was surprised the margin of support was so high – but he noted that persuading voters was easy.
“They see the road that’s going to be fixed,” Hutchinson said while celebrating with other bond advocates at their victory party at Zinda restaurant downtown.
The Wake County Republican Party spoke out against the measure – saying the projects weren’t necessary and the city shouldn’t take on more debt – but they didn’t campaign heavily for its defeat. Most of the “Vote No” signs dotting Raleigh streets in recent weeks referred to the Wake County school bond issue, which brings a much higher tax increase.
The transportation bond package includes 18 projects throughout the city to widen streets, improve bus stops, add roundabouts, and build miles of sidewalks and bicycle lanes. City leaders hope to ease traffic with more lanes on roads such as Buck Jones, Sandy Forks, Mitchell Mill and New Hope Church.
Most of those streets carry 8,000 to 20,000 cars and trucks each day. The busiest is Six Forks Road, which serves 44,000 vehicles. The bonds would include $1.6 million to design improvements for 1.4 miles of Six Forks from Rowan Street in North Hills to Sandy Forks Road.
About $6 million would go to extend the recent Hillsborough Street changes a few blocks west, adding wider sidewalks, roundabouts and bike lanes to spur redevelopment.
To pay for the borrowing, Raleigh taxpayers will see their property taxes increase next year by 1.12 cents per $100 valuation, about $33 more a year in taxes for a house valued at $300,000.