Opinions Split On Streets Plan

Saturday, November 1st 2008, 6:38 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa voters will decide the fate of a $450 million proposal. The five-year plan would go to repair the city's streets.

The News On 6 talked with a Tulsa man whose business is to know Tulsa streets.

Bill Wright probably knows more about the city's roads than most drivers. He owns a delivery service and says surviving Tulsa's streets is one of his hardest jobs.

"I've had to replace tires on both vehicles twice a year this last year. I had to put a whole front end on one of our vehicles this year," said Wright.

Wright owns Johnny's Professional Delivery Service. Each week his vehicles rack up a thousand miles; most of that inside city limits.

Wright was asked to characterize the city's streets.

"They're a mess," said Wright.

That is why Wright is throwing his support behind the $451 million streets package.  Under the plan, property tax on a $100,000 home will go up $63 a year.

Wright admits raising property taxes is a tough sell in this troubled economy, but asks voters to take from someone who knows nearly every inch of Tulsa streets; they're in bad shape and need attention. 

"We are going through a financial hard time right now, that's why the five year plan is better than the 12 year plan at this point," said Wright.

Not everyone agrees. City councilors Bill Martinson and John Eagleton want the streets repaired, but say the five-year plan is the wrong way. Both would rather see the original 12-year plan.

"In short I'm afraid the two initiatives on the ballot will end up costing Tulsa several hundred million dollars more than if we just did it right the first time," said Martinson.

But Wright says a $1,600 repair job on his SUV is enough to convince him, the deal needs to be done now.

"You can pay me now, get the streets fixed or you're going to pay for it later with the maintenance on your vehicles," said Wright.

There are two issues before voters for this plan, one is for neighborhood street repairs and the other is for main streets.