Tour set of areas slated for road upgrades in Urbana

URBANA — Officials are crediting a 4-cent-per-gallon gas tax with funding more than $1 million in road improvements during the next 18 months, and city council members will take a bus tour today to see the areas scheduled for upgrades.

The bus tour is an open meeting and the public is invited to attend, but seating is limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The bus will leave at 5:30 p.m. today (Monday, July 16) from the southeast parking lot of the Urbana City Building, 400 S. Vine St.

According to a press release, three streets are scheduled for asphalt resurfacing next year:

— Broadway Avenue from Illinois Street to Washington Street, an estimated $350,000 project.

— Illinois from Race Street to Orchard Street, an estimated $235,000 project.

— Washington from Race to Walnut Street, an estimated $100,000 project.

The gas-tax funds will also pay for $100,000 worth of smaller repairs to the asphalt in the Historic East Urbana Neighborhood Association area east of the city building.

According to the release, another $950,000 worth of street-resurfacing projects are scheduled during the following fiscal year, including a $210,000 project on Stoughton Street from Harvey Street to Coler Avenue; $580,000 worth of resurfacing on portions of Tremont, Beardsley, Mathews and Eureka streets and Carver Drive in the northwest part of the city; and improvements to Main Street from Harvey to Lincoln Avenue.

Officials expect the 4-cent gas tax will generate $736,000 annually to be used on local roads. The 4-cent rate is two weeks old in Urbana — on July 1, the tax increased from 2.4 cents per gallon.

The gas tax was first approved by the Urbana City Council in August 2010 at 2 cents per gallon. By ordinance, it was scheduled to gradually climb to 3.2 cents by July 2013, but earlier this year, officials approved the higher rate to match the 4-cent gas tax that became effective in Champaign in May.

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rsp wrote on July 16, 2012 at 10:07 am

Some people have opposed this tax and vowed to go out of town to buy gas. What many don't realize when thinking about the issue is the damage poor roads do to their cars and trucks. One pothole can take out a tire, possibly causing an accident. Wear-and-tear on shocks, the suspension system, even decreased mileage if the road is in poor enough shape. At the same time people complain about when are they going to fix them. Those are our roads. They are important in attracting new jobs and business. There is finally a plan in place maintaining this vital infrastructure.