Entries Tagged 'Road Funding' ↓

Ignore the crappy roads, they will always be crappy


At the Sioux Falls city council informational meeting yesterday we had a presentation about the conditions of our roads in Sioux Falls from a consultant who studied them last year. They put in a rating system on the roads.

After Councilor Stehly asked why we will not be putting more focus on the worst of the worst streets, Mark Cotter explained that we must focus on the fair streets more to keep them resurfaced before they get bad. Which I am in partial agreement. He concluded that it cost 8x more to replace a bad street then to just resurface. Stehly argued that we should be doing more to fix the bad streets.

Of course the naysayers came out in full force. First they complained the money wasn’t there, than in classic ‘make stuff up Michelle’, Erpenbach basically claimed we were driving on streets of gold.

I will agree with her partially. Anybody visiting our community will see our arterials and main routes are in very good shape, our residential streets in Sioux Falls central and proper, not so much.

I encourage anyone to either drive, or better yet take a bike ride starting at Nick’s Gyros on 41st street and zig zag through the neighborhoods towards 14th and Minnesota. Some of the roads are in such bad shape there are weeds growing in the center cracks. They are so bad, you can tell they are not only in need of replacement, but full curb and gutter, sidewalks, drainage and probably pipe upgrades, that is why the city is scared the death of opening that can of worms. They are willing to let the central part of our community suffer (where they are building a brand new swimming pool) in the name of urban sprawl.

Erpenbach goes on to say that roads become an issue in the Spring because of potholes, but no one talks about it any other time. Huey. This coming from a councilor who hasn’t talked to a constituent since she was elected. People complain about our roads 24/7, 365 days out of the year. It’s not just during campaign season.

So how can we fix the really bad roads while maintaining our urban sprawl? I have suggested a 1-2 year moratorium on quality of life projects, (façade) maintenance on entertainment facilities, flat line the parks budget, subsidizing non-essential non-profits, etc. I bet we could easily squeeze out an extra $20-30 million dollars for streets (you know, the original intention of the CIP to begin with).

This would of course take planning and courage, something that is in short supply at city hall these days.


‘Infrastructure Mike’ makes his debut


“Enough monkeying around folks, we are gonna fix these dang crappy roads with the day god gave us.”

When I first started watching this interview(?) I had to make a double take to make sure I wasn’t watching Reid Holsen interviewing Mike on CityLink and not Matt Holsen on Stormland TV. It was sure nice of Matt to allow the mayor to drive him around and pretty much write the story for him. I wonder if Matt also let Mike edit the video. Great piece of journalism, maybe Randell Beck will award you a Pulitzer? Probably not, but, I see Green Bay Packer tickets in your future (or maybe the mayor will buy you a Coors Light at the company Christmas party).

Enough of that.

Doesn’t anyone else find it a bit ironic that shortly after a municipal election where the winning candidates talked about fixing our roads, the mayor has a change of heart (he also changed the name of the Administration Building to the Public Services Building). Maybe he could sell sponsorships to the place? I think the Darrin Smith Commemorative Building has a nice ring to it, after all, the first phase of construction will leave half the building unfinished, seems fitting.

So after spending a lion’s share of the 2nd penny kitty on play things and fun houses the mayor is all of sudden concerned about our roads. Awww. It really warms a heart.

“That’s how I’m going out the final two and that is repairing and rebuilding and replacing this infrastructure and yeah including some of the bumpy roads in our town,” Huether said.

That should have been your priority when you were sworn in to begin with. With dwindling tax revenue over the next two years and bond payments coming from the 2nd penny like a payment on a sub-prime credit card, just how much can you spend on roads? No worries though, Infrastructure Mike has it handled with his personal press secretary Matt Holsen and Stormland TV.

No worries, Chuck will still be writing poetry during road construction season

“If you’re determined to get here you can make it,” Luden said.


Solutions to education and road funding


I don’t know who is more ignorant, my students or my state legislators

I recently thought a way to get more money for both would be for the public schools and counties split a statewide room tax. We could dedicate 100% to fixing roads and paying teachers.

I have often been baffled that the state doesn’t have such a tax, especially with all the business travel to Sioux Falls and tourism travel across the state.

Assbackwards road funding ideas

I was watching State Senator Mike Vehle talk about road funding ideas on 100 Eyes yesterday and just about spit out my coffee. One of the ideas is to PUNISH hybrid and electric car users. Mike suggested that Electric car users should pay an additional $80 registration fee, and Hybrid an additional $40, because they don’t use as much gas or no gas at all. Ludicrous. Most of those vehicles are very light, and do little damage to the roads, my Hybrid weighs under 1,500 lbs. (and the way I drive it, I doubt it touches the road much at all). Basically, what Mike is saying is that we should start charging people who ride bikes on the roads, because hey, they are using the roads and not contributing a gas tax.

You have to realize, we also fund road maintenance through sales taxes to, something us hippy Hybrid drivers and bicyclists also pay.

He also suggested that in the future we use a satellite monitoring system to track mileage. Really?! That is one of the most jackass ideas I have heard so far.

Let’s face it, the solutions are simple, and Mr. Content Strategist Lalley brought one of them up.

“Why not just lift all the exemptions that exist?”


For instance, farmers not having to pay registration on monster tractors and trailers that tear the crap out of the roads. START CHARGING THEM! Farming is a business, just like a contractor, and if they have to register their vehicles, farmers should to.

There are also other fair and equitable ways;

– Raise the gas tax.

– Charge registration based on weight and usage of vehicle. The heavier the vehicle, the more you pay.

– Tax vehicles the same rate as food and utilities. This idea is way past due.

– Have dealerships charge taxes at the time of purchase and give you license plates, why are we using county resources for this? Grocery stores collect taxes for the state, why can’t car dealerships? (This was a suggestion by commissioner Jeff Barth)

Once again the brain trust we call our state legislature wants to punish the poor and wise instead of the people who are actually damaging our roads the most. And we keep re-electing these fools.

If a new road is essential for growth, jobs and development – why the secrecy?

If you don’t give us taxpayer money, we are packing our bags (where have we heard that one before?)

The public becomes suspect when in one breath government tells us we must subsidize private industry for our benefit then turns around in another breath tells us that industry must remain secret;

They won’t name the employer but think they can secure state and federal money to help pay for a new roadway to accelerate improvements in the area.

“It’s a major organization we want to keep in Sioux Falls,” said Darrin Smith, city director of community development.


“The company wants to keep its identity confidential, and we’ll honor that,” Barr said. “There’s no commitment on their part or our part, but anytime a company opens the door to relocate, you want to make sure you have a competitive option for them.”

If they are asking for public money, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that they remain confidential. If you want our money, fine, fess up. Secondly, I find it very hard to believe this company would be packing bags if we don’t build this road for them. I do think this road is needed in that part of town, but to make it sound like we are going to lose jobs and businesses if we don’t build this road is a stretch.

I have no idea who this business is, but if I had to guess, here is a pretty good clue;

Much discussion now is about another city business that has outgrown its location and might be looking at the park for a new plant.

I’m guessing it is the metal recycling plant that wanted to move in the old stockyards, and the city has been jumping through hoops for them so they WON’T locate in that location. If anybody else has the facts and wants to confirm that, please comment.


Think traffic is bad in Sioux Falls while driving your car? Hit the streets on a bicycle.

“Just another successful bicycle commute in Sioux Falls”

When you are in your car, you can observe a lot of rudeness from the safety of your vehicle, but if you really want to see a high level of ass-hattery by SF drivers, get on a bicycle or moped and travel our streets. One Saturday, last summer, I rode my bike down 41st street from Barnes and Noble to Ground Round. I was almost hit 4 times and one time I had to hit my breaks so hard I almost went over my handle bars into the lap of a guy driving a Mustang convertible, and he had the nerve to flip me off. Yeah, Mr. Cool. I like to take the bike trails as much as possible, even though I have to circumvent yuppie moms with their double strollers, it is still 200 times safer then our streets.

According to an Argus Leader/KELO-TV poll that surveyed 800 likely voters in Sioux Falls, 70 percent of the city’s residents think traffic in the city is worse than it was five years ago. Twenty-seven percent feel things are about the same, and 3 percent say traffic is better. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

Who is this 3 percent?

Get ready to drive on more crappy roads

I’m still wondering where legislators think the money is going to come from to repair roads? Obamacare? Gotta love the excuses to;

Opponents said even a modest increase in the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel could cause people to buy fuel across the border in other states, particularly Wyoming, which has a much lower tax.

Yeah, I’m going to drive to Wyoming to fill up my car . . .

Sen. Gordon Howie, R-Rapid City, who is running for governor, said the bill should be defeated because South Dakotans do not want to be hit with a large tax increase. He said a better option would be to reduce government red tape to encourage more industrial development, which in turn would lead to increased state sales tax receipts.

Huh. Gordon, please stop talking and go teabag someone on your own time, stop wasting South Dakotan’s time with your ridiculous comments. While I think industrial development is a good idea, what does it have to do with roads and sales tax receipts? We shouldn’t be fixing roads from taxing food and utilities. When are you dillweeds gonna figure that out?

The Legislature has always resisted using general tax revenue for roads, and has instead used fuel taxes, vehicle excise taxes and registration fees to pay for highways. The South Dakota Constitution requires that gas tax revenue be used for roads and bridges.

Gee, what a concept!

I would go a step further


Drive me, no new tax fees

I think our legislators are on the right track when it comes to road funding, but I would do some tweaking on the proposal;

The bill would boost money for maintenance and construction projects on state and county roads throughout South Dakota. The state’s tax on gasoline would jump 5 cents a gallon by May 1 and another 5 cents in 2012. Vehicle registration fees also would rise over two years, as would the state’s excise tax on new vehicles.

I agree vehicle registration fees should go up, but I also think the whole system needs an overhaul. You should pay a higher rate based on the weight of your vehicle and it’s fuel efficency. If you drive a light vehicle that gets over 35 miles a gallon, your fees should be reduced. We should be rewarding people who choose to have less impact on our roads. I also think the excise tax on vehicles should be the same as food. I have never understood why we pay a higher rate on goods that are essential to life then we do on automobiles. The whole argument from the car dealership lobby will be that it will hurt sales. Bologna. You can finance your excise tax into your loan and spread that expense out over the life of your loan. It won’t hurt sales. While I think a gas tax is a fair way to fund roads, I would probably hold off on that for at least a year and see if the other two proposals work first. I like gas taxes because, like I mentioned with my registration fee idea, it has less impact on people who choose to drive more fuel efficient vehicles.

City of Sioux Falls plans to start on arterial street projects in 2010 even though developers haven’t held up their end of the bargain


Just another boondoggle in the making.

I noticed that Item #25 of the city council meeting was a resolution approving the arterial street development schedule for 2010.


I find this quite sad and comical considering that we were told when our taxes were increased to pay for these roads that developers would be putting in 50%. Kind of wonder where that 50% will be coming from considering as of August the financial numbers were (page 2);

From the .08 cent increase; $1,815,000

From platting fees; $116,000

But even if you want to get technical, if you want to take the ‘Total’ of the entire second penny, it does not get much better;

From the .92 cent tax; $27,000,000

From platting fees; $434,000

The crux of all this, according to councilor Costello, is that we are $137 million dollars behind on road maintenance in Sioux Falls. Why would we be building NEW streets for developers (who are not ponying up their share) instead of fixing what we have first? Once the developers put in their 50% and we are caught up reasonably on maintenance, then let’s talk building roads outside of Tea, SD.

Once again, the public was lied to, and we will end up picking up the tab for the special interests. Pathetic.