The main danger posed by Dallas' tepid growth is, as Councilman Scott Griggs pointed out this week, that the city will find itself without enough tax revenue to maintain its sprawling infrastructure. Raise taxes and make repairs or let things decay, either response will drive people away, crunching the budget tighter. Initiate downward spiral.
Already, Dallas isn't exactly doing a fantastic job of taking care of the nuts and bolts.
Right now, according to data that will be presented to the City Council's transportation committee on Monday, 81.8 percent of Dallas streets rated "satisfactory," according to the city's special street-scanner vehicle (see picture).
Seems like a decent enough score until you consider 1) that it falls well shy of the city's 87-percent target; 2) is worse than it was three years ago; and 3) that the term "satisfactory" is used loosely (a score of at least 45 on a 100-point scale).
Here's a council district-by-council district breakdown comparing 2011 with 2014:
And here is what will happen if the road budget stays the same over the next three years:
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During its briefing Monday, city staff will present council members with several approaches to the problem, all of which are really expensive. The city can either: resurface bad streets at the same rate that satisfactory streets become unsatisfactory ($728 million over four years); repair all the barely satisfactory streets so they don't become unsatisfactory ($245 million); or just focus on repairing the main thoroughfares and collectors ($187 million).
In other words: new bond package.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.