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A Proposal To Repair Lincoln, NE's Dilapidated Streets

posted Jul 24, 2019, 12:56 PM by William Stone   [ updated Jul 24, 2019, 3:35 PM ]
This was sent as an email and USPS mail to my City Councilwoman in Lincoln, NE, Jane Raybould.  It's pretty self-explanatory.

It was CC-ed to my State Senator, the Chairman of the Nebraska Libertarian Party, and the Chairman of the Lancaster County Libertarian Party.

I have redacted my contact information for security reasons.

The lack of road maintenance is easily visible on Google Maps.  This is an intersection I'm familiar with, but you can choose almost any street at random.

Feel free to browse Google Maps anywhere in Lincoln, NE to get a good idea of the scale of the problem.

300 South 48th Street, Lincoln, NE

Ms. Raybould:

As a constituent living at REDACTED, I'd like to present a proposal for repairing Lincoln's dilapidated streets.

By way of context, I'd mention that I grew up in Lincoln. I moved to Chicago in 1989. Several years after that, I moved to North Sioux City, South Dakota. Since that time, I've lived in Des Moines, Redfield, and Winterset, Iowa. I'm now retired and reside in Lincoln again.

In all that time, I have never driven in a city whose streets have been so obviously unmaintained for so long. With the exception of O Street and South 70th Street, every single arterial and residential street I've driven is a mess of repeatedly-filled potholes, all of which are now in disrepair. It's so bad that when driving my Jeep Wrangler, it feels similar to off-road driving.

With the exception of O Street and South 70th Street, every single street now needs to be replaced down to bare earth. Simply covering it with a layer of blacktop is no longer sufficient. It has already been done repeatedly, and another layer might bring the street level to the curb.

There appears to have been no rolling maintenance of the kind you'd expect in a city of over 250,000 for at least a decade. If there has been rolling maintenance, it has been insufficient to keep pace with the degradation.

I can't imagine any way for the City Government to now resolve the situation. Endless miles of street such as A Street, South 48th Street, South Street, etc., would need to be simultaneously closed.

The City Government has been obviously and completely negligent. It clearly cannot be counted-upon to perform the task of road maintenance.

I would therefore offer the following proposal:
  1. Turn all responsibility for road maintenance over to local neighborhood associations.
    1. These associations could be designated by a simply grid pattern of the city.
    2. Neighborhood associations would be responsible for determining if and when their streets need repair.
    3. Neighborhood associations would be responsible for contracting with private businesses for repair and ongoing maintenance.

  2. Allow the City Government scheduling authority, so that endless miles of arterials aren't simultaneously closed.

  3. Repeal any and all City and County property taxes, so that property owners have funds to contract for road maintenance.

  4. Lobby the State Government for 100% property tax relief for Lincoln property owners for the next ten years, so that property owners have funds to contract for road maintenance.

  5. Offer tax incentives for property owners along arterials such as (but not limited to) A Street or South 48th Street to encourage property owners to increase those streets by an additional lane.

  6. Lobby the State Government for tax incentives for property owners along arterials such as (but not limited to) A Street or South 48th Street to encourage them to increase those streets by an additional lane.
I can see no other practical way to resolve the situation.

Again, it's quite clear that the City Government has been utterly negligent for years -- possibly decades. It has demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt that it cannot be counted-upon to perform the task of road maintenance.

It is now time to remove that authority from the City Government and turn it over to property owners.

I would be happy to discuss this proposal further. You may feel free to contact me at:

E-Mail: REDACTED
Phone: REDACTED
USPS: REDACTED

Sincerely,

William Stone III