Dallas has three options to address its $900 million in street repair needs, all of them terrible. Here's how Councilwoman Sandy Greyson laid them out during the transporation committee's come-to-Jesus meeting on Monday:
"We can put these things in our bond program and keep increasing our debt service. We can put this in our general fund ... and are you willing to accept the tax increase that comes along with that? ... The third option is, our streets keep deteriorating."
Meanwhile in Plano, one guy is mildly frustrated -- albeit very appreciative of the long-term benefit -- with how gosh darn fast his city is repairing its roads. They have 20 separate projects underway, prompting a modest increase in traffic rerouting through his neighborhood.
NBC 5 searched this guy out yesterday in its apparent quest to prove how much more awesome Plano is at maintaining its infrastructure than Dallas. Spoiler alert: The quest was a success, though you can probably glean as much by the "Plano: City of Excellence" logo they use in their lead-in.
Here's Plano Public Works director Jerry Cosgrove, explaining how the city's innovative strategy of repairing roads before they are riddled with elephant-sized potholes:
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"We're getting to the point where if we don't take care of this problem now we'll get to the point where we get farther and farther behind, and once you get too far behind, there is no catching up."
Ah, but there's a catch. As every Dallasite knows, basic infrastructure maintenance requires a municipality to saddle itself with debt, and Plano is no different. Last year, voters there approved a bond package that included $61 million in street repairs.
But there's also a catch to the catch. According to the Texas Comptroller's office, Dallas' outstanding debt is $5,246 per resident. Plano's, when you add in the 2013 bond package, is $1,731, or roughly a third. Also, their streets are better.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.