The city has a backlog of more than 30 street improvement projects that remain unfunded.
Allocations for transportation in the Capital Improvement Plan for next fiscal year and the five-year plan stand at about $30.2 million and about $76.9 million, respectively. But the unfunded projects total an estimated $216.6 million.
A discussion about the projects came about during the council’s budget work session Monday afternoon when transportation manager Eric Lamb explained why some projects remain on the sidelines.
While the Capital Improvement Plan outlines estimated costs and the fiscal years each department would like to see the projects funded, Lamb stressed that none of the projects on the unfunded list have any money allocated toward them.
“In reality, those numbers should be zeros,” he said.
Lamb said street improvement projects generally have a three-year timeline. The first year is used for design and public input. The second year is used to acquire the necessary right-of-way permissions and the third is construction. Only when a project is in the first five years of the city’s Capital Improvement Plan is it considered a funded project, but it’s not officially funded until year one.
District C Councilor Eugene Weeks questioned why so many roads in his district have remain or have been moved to the unfunded list, such as Poole Road and two projects on Rock Quarry Road in Southeast Raleigh.
Lamb said funding from the 2005 transportation bond was originally allocated for Poole Road improvements. After the completion of Route 264 bypass, much of the traffic on Poole Road moved onto the bypass. Since the late 1990s the traffic has decreased about 40 percent and it was subsequently moved to the unfunded list.
Some projects are partially funded. All of the design work for Buck Jones Road was completed, for example, but it won’t be fully funded until 2015. With limited funds, the improvements for Mitchell Mill Road have been put on the back burner in order to go forward with Buck Jones Road.
The Leesville Road widening project is fully funded.
Much of the 2011 transportation bond has been allocated to road resurfacing, sidewalk improvements, greenway projects, transit upgrades and planning studies. The funding for those projects covers the next two years. None of the bond money will be allocated to the unfunded projects list.
While the majority of the roads on the list are state-owned, it is up to the city to fund any improvements.
The council briefly discussed considering an additional transportation bond referendum in the fall. City Manager Russell Allen said councilors have until July to decide if they wanted to include a fall bond referendum.
An additional penny on the tax rate could bring in $45 million to $50 million.
Councilors need to approve a new budget for the next fiscal year by July 1.