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LA Cataloging Its Sidewalks, Considering New Tax For Repairs

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What's the latest scheme to pay for LA's thousands of miles of cracked and buckling sidewalks? Instead of shifting the funding for sidewalk repairs from the city back to property owners, as it had hoped to do, the City Council is now "weighing a new strategy: cataloging the damage citywide, tallying the total cost and then asking property owners to tax themselves to cover the cost," reports the LA Times (The cost for repairing all of the city's sidewalks has been estimated at $1.5 billion in the past.) Last week, the Council asked for estimates on " a comprehensive sidewalk survey that is expected to last three years and consume 'well over $10 million' in taxpayer funds"--under the deal, a contractor would spend a year and a half actually walking the sidewalks, documenting their condition and the types of trees and soil around them; then they'd spend six months developing special sidewalk-number-crunching software for the results. All that should be done by late 2015; then the city can try to get a bond measure for repairs on the March 2017 ballot (so just watch your step until then, ok?). They're also considering smaller assessment areas as an alternative to a citywide bond. The Bureau of Street Services is expected to come back with a cost estimate in three months. Meanwhile, 42 percent of LA's 10,750 miles of sidewalks are believed to be in disrepair.
· L.A. takes steps to launch sidewalk-repair survey [LAT]
· LA's Busted Sidewalk Problem Not Going Away [Curbed LA]