Oklahoma City residents vote on 'Better Streets, Safer City' next week

    Oklahoma City leaders encourage residents to vote yes on Sept. 12th for "Better Streets, Safer City." (KOKH/Caroline Vandergriff)

    Oklahoma City voters will head to the polls Tuesday for what city leaders have dubbed the "Better Streets, Safer City" election. A nearly billion dollar bond package for city projects is on the ballot, along with two sales tax issues.

    The 10-year, $967 million bond package has 13 different measures, addressing everything from libraries to police. More than half of that money, $491 million, will go to improving streets.

    • Streets and sidewalks ($491 million)
    • Traffic control ($28 million)
    • Bridges ($27 million)
    • Parks and recreation ($138 million)
    • Drainage control ($62 million)
    • Economic and community development ($60 million)
    • Fire ($45 million)
    • Police ($31 million)
    • Libraries ($24 million)
    • Transit ($20 million)
    • Civic Center complex ($20 million)
    • City maintenance facilities ($13 million)
    • Downtown arena ($9 million)

    “Streets are very expensive,” said Eric Wenger, the public works director for Oklahoma City. “For us to resurface the street, it costs about $300,000 a lane mile. So the cost is significant. But with the bond issues it would allow us to do that with very little impact to the resident.”

    Wenger says improving streets is the number one priority for Oklahoma City residents, according to annual surveys and public hearings.

    “It’s a very big part of the city’s future,” Wenger said.

    Voters will also decide whether to extend a temporary penny sales tax to provide another $240 million for streets.

    “Who hasn’t driven down a road after an ice storm, or we’ve had some sort of weather event, and had your car hit a pot hole?” said Ashley Dickson with the Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma, who supports the measure. “So I believe it affects us all.”

    There’s also a quarter of a penny sales tax increase on the ballot that would allow the city to hire 129 more police officers and 57 firefighters, if approved.

    Polls will be open Sept. 12th from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for Oklahoma City voters.

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