Is a dedicated tax the solution to our failing roads?
Published Wednesday, November 7, 2012 4:47PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, November 8, 2012 9:25AM CST
It could be a bumpy road ahead for Saskatoon City Councilors as they face some big decisions in the near future.
About 10 percent of roadways in Saskatoon are in very poor condition. Mayor Don Atchison says the problem is priority one. “We have to deal with it. It is urgent. We don't want our roads to fail."
Currently, the city spends about $9 million on roads a year, but Infrastructure Services says that’s not enough. They recommend $25 million a year. Atchison says that can happen.
“We're going to spend a lot of money on roads over the next few years."
But, Atchison says it can't happen in one year. Council has to find the funding, and the industries that build roads need time to get the materials and people ready.
Right now, money for roads comes mainly from taxes. Federal and provincial funding programs may pop up but aren't consistent.
The city says it needs a long term sustainable funding plan, like a tax dedicated to roads. Some cities, like Edmonton, have a dedicated road tax. The average household there pays $22 a month for road maintenance. In Saskatoon, households pay $6.
Council will sit down in early December to discuss the budget and figure out much will go to roadways, and whether a dedicated tax is the best way to fund it.
City administration is recommending we double the amount of money we spend on our roadways – and that’s just to get them in decent shape. But how do you pay for it?