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Eugene street bond: 'We hope to fix all of the roads before they need to be rebuilt'

Eugene has more than 500 miles of streets. Per the city's evaluations, 21 percent of them are damaged, Nov. 2, 2017. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Lane County Special Election is Tuesday of next week and for the third time in the past ten years, a street repair bond measure is on the ballot for Eugene.

Eugenians are still paying for the last street repair bond, voted on back in 2012, but that money will soon run out.

And as the new project list indicates, there's still plenty of road work to be done.

Eugene has more than 500 miles of streets. Per the city's evaluations, 21 percent of them are damaged.

"What we hope to do is to fix all of the roads before they need to be rebuilt. It's more cost effective that way," says Brian Richardson with Eugene Public Works.

So to make a dent, or in some cases fix a dent, a street repair bond measure is back on the ballot.

"If passed, this bond would cost the typical homeowner about $148 per year."

It would total $51.2 million over the next five years as basically an extension of the measures already passed in 2008 and 2012.

"So people who are currently paying for the 2012 measure, that one ends in 2018. This bond measure that's proposed right now would start in 2019, so as one expires the new one would pick up if it's passed."

It includes a list of 91 projects all over the city.

"We're starting to get into more residential streets right now with this bond measure as opposed to kind of the 6th and 7th avenues."

Some Eugene residents are all for it.

"The town is growing, whether we like it or not, and the streets and the traffic being in good shape are going to be very important as to what's going on," says Jerry Leff of Eugene.

Others are not as gung-ho, like Thomas Lester, who wrote in the voter's pamphlet: "There will never be an end to the backlog of street repair projects in Eugene.” The quote continued, adding that "endless ballot measures for funding street maintenance have become the new norm."

City spokesperson Brian Richardson says reports show the bond measures make a significant cut in the backlog and save money down the road.

"According to the pavement management report, if this ballot measure does not pass, we'll go from $92 million to $200 million over the next ten years."

Richardson says it's more cost effective to fix the roads sooner than to pay for total reconstruction later.

The measure also includes one million dollars a year to pedestrian and bicyclist projects.

Voters have until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, to turn in ballots.

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