LA City Council Considers Pothole Tax Proposal

Residents and employees in the city say they've noticed a steady decline in road conditions but another tax may be a tough sell.

They’re a nuisance on Los Angeles city streets. They damage tires, rims and, if you’re not careful, you.

The debate over potholes has resurfaced in the Los Angeles City Council after councilman Mitch Englander introduced a proposal Wednesday to place a $3 billion bond measure on the May ballot to pay for badly needed repairs. If the tax is approved, it would tack on an average $24 to a home's property tax bill every year for 20 years.

According to the LA Bureau of Street Services, an estimated one-third of Los Angeles streets have earned a failing grade when it comes to smooth sailing. Englander said they have suffered years of neglect.

"It’s something that we’ve all inherited," Englander said. "In fact, streets weren’t reconstructed or repaired to ‘A’ or ‘B’ condition for 50 years. From 1950 to 1990, they weren’t done."

"We have the highest cost of car ownership because of maintenance in the United States, on average of $746 per vehicle," he said.

Englander introduced the tax proposal not only for maintenance, but also for major roadwork.

A tax increase on city property owners in the midst of several other parcel and sales tax hikes from the state and county could make it a tough sell.


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Neighborhood council activists voiced their opposition to the levy at a recent council meeting, saying councilmembers "have a lot of nerve asking to be asking us for more money."

The council has postponed the measure, for now. Activists in various neighborhood councils said it needs more time.

Still, residents and those who work in the city said their affected daily by the poor road conditions.

"I see new potholes all the time, and nothing’s happening to them," said Mark Caskey, who has noticed the steady decline during the 25 years he’s worked as a roofing contractor.

"When I’m driving, the whole car is shaking," said cab driver Edward Torossian. "It’s not fair."

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