Overland Park asks residents to renew sales tax for street improvements

09/17/2013 5:18 PM

09/17/2013 6:12 PM

Overland Park’s future street improvements are now up to the city’s registered voters.

Ballots for a special election were sent out this week, asking residents to consider renewing the one-eighth-cent street improvement sales tax for 10 more years.

The mail-in ballots are due by noon Oct. 8 to the Johnson County Election Office.

The current sales tax, which has been in place for nearly 15 years, is set to expire on March 31.

If passed, the street improvement sales tax will go into effect on April 1 and is projected to generate approximately $65 million over 10 years.

Since its implementation in 1999, around $70 million has been spent on maintaining Overland Park residential streets and thoroughfares, public works director Doug Brown told the city council earlier this year.

Renewing the tax will allow the continued reconstruction of residential streets that have exceeded their useful life and improve two-lane thoroughfare streets in high-growth areas in the city.

The tax also allows the city to replace traffic signals, improve street lighting and replace deteriorating curbs and sidewalks.

Overland Park is asking for 10 more years for the ability to plan long-term maintenance. According to the city’s website, Overland Park’s population is expected to increase from its current 176,000 to over 200,000 in 2020.

With more residents and a potential business boom because of it, city engineers anticipate more traffic.

Street projects already funded or scheduled to receive funding from the sales tax are highlighted on an interactive map on the city’s website. It features listing details and photos of the projects.

Two projects scheduled to be completed in 2014 include widening 159th Street from Quivira Road to Antioch Road from unimproved two lanes to four lanes and adding left- and right-turn bays at the 127th Street and Pflumm Road intersection.

If the tax does not get renewed, future street improvement projects will be canceled until the city has a chance to reexamine its priorities and other potential funding sources, said Brian Shields, city traffic engineer.

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