By Nick Woodruff
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Stillwater’s infrastructure needs more funding if residents want high-quality transportation.
The transportation sales tax is the last proposition on the Nov. 12 ballot. It replaces a half percent, renewable sales tax designated for specific transportation projects with a permanent 1-percent sales tax for transportation.
When the city talks about transportation, it means more than cars on the road. City officials want to improve motor vehicle transportation, bicycle transportation and pedestrian safety.
In Stillwater, there are more than 440 lane miles of pavement, 28 bridges, 62 intersections with signals, approximately 8,000 traffic signs and more than 25 miles of biking facilities and biking road routes.
In 2007, Stillwater approved the Stillwater Transportation Enhancement Plan, which provided plans for transportation needs until 2030. The sales tax, on the other hand, expires in 2016.
Throughout the plan, there are more than $100 million in projects needed in the next 17 years, according to the Proposition Three fact sheet. A reliable budget is needed to effectively maintain transportation needs. The city estimates $4 million a year is needed for the maintenance of roads alone.
Stillwater residents pay a sales tax rate of 8.83 percent. If Proposition Three is approved, the sales tax rate will be 9.313 percent — the highest sales tax rate of the 20 largest cities by population in Oklahoma.
The city will focus on:
• Corridor improvement projects. This means the city will design and proceed with different projects to improve the mobility along transportation corridors, according to the city’s fact sheet. Projects included would be street construction, signage and pedestrian and cycling transportation improvements.
• Pavement management projects. This will help reconstruct streets and provide preventative maintenance to make streets last longer.