Now that voters have approved a new half-cent sales tax, Kansas City officials want residents to see progress -- and soon.
The sales tax will be dedicated to the city's parks and community centers. But it will also free up other money that used to go to parks and now will be earmarked for street maintenance.
"We owe it to the residents of Kansas City, who said loud and clear that they want to fix our streets," Mayor Sly James said Tuesday in announcing a street resurfacing program that will kick off this fall while decent construction weather lasts.
The sales tax, approved Aug. 7, takes effect in January and is expected to generate about $3 million more than the city had budgeted through the end of the fiscal year, April 30. The city will front the money for street maintenance this fall, then pay those funds back after the sales tax money starts to flow.
With that $3 million, City Manager Troy Schulte said the city should be able to resurface an additional 30 miles.
"We'll fix the worst streets that residents drive the most," he said.
The city has a list of more than 20 major roadway projects, in every geographic sector, scheduled for repairs.
Bannister Road from Raytown Road to Norfleet Avenue.
Wornall Road from Gregory Boulevard to 79th Street and from 96th Terrace to Ward Parkway.
Prospect Avenue and Olive Street from 31st to 20th streets.
Northwest 68th Street from Northwest Waukomis Drive to U.S. 169.
Northeast Shoal Creek Parkway from Northeast 76th Street to Missouri 152.
Ninth Street from Grand Boulevard to Charlotte Street, and 10th Street from Grand to Locust Street.
In future years, the city has pledged to dedicate at least $15 million annually to street maintenance.
Councilman Russ Johnson, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the city should be able to start resurfacing about 200 miles of roadway per year. The most it has done in any prior year, he said, was 180 miles.
Once the street maintenance program gets going in earnest, Johnson said, "You will be noticing the difference on streets you drive every day."