City wants to quicken road reconstruction
BARSTOW • As construction crews work on the reconstruction of Mountain View Street, other crumbling streets throughout the city could get a makeover.
The Barstow City Council on Monday night adopted a resolution authorizing an eight-year statewide financing plan to help fund city street improvements.
City Manager Curt Mitchell said approving the Total Road Improvement Program, also known as TRIP, will speed up reconstruction, helping the city to save money over time.
“It is worth it because it helps improve the quality of life for residents of this community, because we accelerate the process to get these streets repaired,” he said.
A city study identified roughly 37.42 miles of streets in failing condition. According to city documents, the city’s capital improvement program would allow only Rimrock Road and Montara Road to be reconstructed over the next four years.
City streets are currently maintained using monies collected from the city’s gas tax funds and Measure I bond funds. Every year the city receives roughly $650,000 from gas tax funds, which are monies collected from consumers at the gas pump, as well as $1.8 million from Measure I funds, a one-half cent sales tax increase previously approved by county voters.
The city has identified a total of $20.7 million in five street reconstruction projects for 2013 to 2016.
The city expects to raise roughly $11.24 million through the TRIP program to fund the first three projects: Montara area, Rimrock Road and Henderson area. Construction could begin as early as 2013. The city would pledge roughly $1.63 million or up to two-thirds of its Measure I and gas tax funds over an eight-year period of the bond program.
“Through the TRIP financing, we will be able to reconstruct approximately 20 miles of failing streets,” Assistant City Manager Oliver Chi said. “But while those streets are being reconstructed, the city will continue to explore different available options to continue improving the city’s street infrastructure.”
The city could also borrow $9.5 million at a later date from the city’s hospital and unallocated general fund to finance the remaining projects.
Barstow resident and former mayor Lawrence Dale opposed the plan.
“There are ways to do this without borrowing and spending,” he said. “... We are talking about money that could be used for something beneficial to the city: $1.8 million. We need economic growth, that type of thing, but we worry more about the streets than economic growth.”
However, Barstow resident Mike Hernandez supported the plan.
“I think the costs will come out better for the city, because we can save money by putting larger projects together instead of putting them out one project at a time, which costs us more money in the long run,” he said.
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