Voters will soon be asked to raise their taxes to help the city improve traffic flow on major streets.
The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday voted to place a $206.7 million bond referendum on the ballot this fall. If voters approve the measure, Raleigh will raise the property tax rate by 1.3 cents in the next few years to pay for the work.
City leaders said the referendum comes after responses to a recent resident survey. About 44 percent of people who took the survey rated Raleigh’s traffic flow as below average or poor.
“This is a bond that really addresses the thing we’ve heard the most complaints about, which is congestion on our roads,” Mayor Nancy McFarlane said.
The plan targets 16 major roads and other transportation and sidewalk projects. McFarlane said the bond would repair and widen roads, as well as build new sidewalks in places that need them, specifically around schools.
Some of the details have yet to be worked out. Under the plan, the city would:
▪ convert Blount and Person streets downtown to two-way roads from Delway to Hoke streets;
▪ add sidewalks on Carolina Pines Road from Lake Wheeler Road to South Saunders Street, which runs next to Dix Park;
▪ provide a local funding match for the city to apply for federal funds that would help Raleigh extend West Street under the railroad from Martin to Cabarrus streets near the Union Station transit hub, which is set to open next year;
▪ widen Dixie Forest Road from Spring Forest Road to Atlantic Avenue;
▪ widen Barwell Road from Rock Quarry to Berkeley Lake roads;
▪ widen Trawick Road from Capital Boulevard to Marsh Creek Road;
▪ widen Marsh Creek Road from Trawick to New Hope roads;
▪ widen Atlantic Avenue from Highwoods Boulevard to New Hope Church Road;
▪ widen Leesville Road from Westgate to Oneal roads;
▪ potentially give $1 million to YMCA of the Triangle for a new facility in Southeast Raleigh.
The city also plans to address six holdover projects from the 2013 bond, which raised $75 million. Raleigh needs at least $83 million to complete projects on Old Wake Forest, Tryon, Rock Quarry, Poole, Blue Ridge and Six Forks roads.
This year’s bond and associated tax increase are separate from the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which calls for raising Raleigh’s property tax rate by 0.7 cents to bring it to 42.5 cents per $100 in valuation.
The transportation projects are also mostly unrelated to the Wake Transit Plan that county voters approved in November, which raises the sales tax rate by a half-cent to expand bus and rail service over the next decade.
This fall’s election is scheduled for Oct. 10, but a bill under consideration by state lawmakers could change the date to Sept. 12.