Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Capital Improvement Plan at Budget Committee Tonight

The Budget Committee meets this evening and they'll hold a Public Hearing on the draft 2020 five year Capital Improvement Plan. (Agenda and packet here.)

There's not a whole lot new in this iteration of the plan, and so just a few comments. (Here are longer notes from last year, and much of that remains current and relevant.)

Funding is inflated with a BUILD grant and drops off for 2022
Maybe the City's been tipped off in private, but publicly I'm pretty sure the City has not yet been announced as a winner of a BUILD grant for the McGilchrist project. The current Federal administration has also reconfigured it from the TIGER program to have a much greater emphasis on rural projects. You can see the green dots in the map of the most recent awards. As the program currently operates, McGilchrist may not be a strong candidate.

Columbia River and Coos Bay got awards last year
In any case, on other programming like ODOT's ARTS, STIP, SR2S, or the City's own SDSs, STREC, URA, projects don't get included in the Capital Improvement Plan until funding is committed. So why is the City repeatedly wishcasting on McGilchrist? They keep doing this! It looks like an attempt to inflate the numbers, really.

$15 million makes the project list seem a lot bigger
And you could see a reason why. Without a bond measure, the transportation projects are really falling off after 2021. The gas tax is not enough. The City should talk about that more. Auto user fees are not sufficient. We subsidize driving. Even a small new local gas tax wouldn't be very much.

On most other items there's just not very much new to say.

One significant omission seems to be the ongoing paving rehabilitation. The programming from last year was not carried into this year it appears. I wonder where those funds went. That's an ongoing maintenance issue that should have more visibility.

From last year and not carried into this year?
$7.5 million for pavement rehab (2019 CIP)
There's still the weirdness on the Lone Oak Bridge. This seems like it's a placeholder? It's not attached to any revenue from the Reimbursement District that Council approved last year. It's hardly more than a line-item here, and it deserves longer explanation how it and Council's decision for the District all fit together into the plan. Is this thing really resolved?

The weirdness on the Lone Oak bridge
I'm pretty sure the funding for the bundle of five enhanced crosswalks and bikeway crossings is not sufficient, especially for the complicated treatment on Fairgrounds and Norway. It seems very unlikely this will be completed next year. The City should talk about this more.

This is not going to be enough
The ongoing crosswalk funding is nice to see. But will this provide funding for Fairgrounds and Norway?

This is nice
The Budget Committee meets tonight, April 24th at 6pm in Council Chambers at City Hall.

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