Aurora may look to voters in 2017 for help funding transportation projects

The potential projects the money could be used for include widening parts of East Colfax Avenue, Sixth Avenue and parts of Havana Street and Gun Club Road.

AURORA | A 2017 ballot measure could ask Aurora voters to allow the city to take on new debt without increasing taxes in order to pay for $81 million in transportation projects.

At the July 18 Aurora City Council study session, Aurora City Council members agreed to further discuss the measure at an August meeting.

The measure was initiated by Aurora At-Large City Councilman Bob LeGare, who has supported similar ballot measures in the past that have failed.

In 2014 Aurora residents largely voted down a measure to extend a property tax that would have generated $5 million annually for local transportation projects.

LeGare said he was proposing the ballot measure right now because the city needs to create an awareness campaign around the issue, given the fact that similar measures have failed in the past.

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This map illustrates a series of planned transportation projects that would be funded via a bond measure proposed by Councilman Bob LeGare. (Courtesy City of Aurora)

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This graphic shows a series of proposed improvements near 11th Avenue, Havana Street and Del Mar Parkway. (Courtesy City of Aurora)

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This graphic shows a planned widening of the Alameda Avenue bridge over Interstate 225. (Courtesy City of Aurora)

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This graphic shows a proposed restriping project for South Aurora Parkway and Gun Glub Road near Quincy Avenue. (Courtesy City of Aurora)

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This graphic shows the proposed widening of westbound lanes of Iliff Avenue near Havana Street. (Courtesy City of Aurora)

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This graphic shows a proposed widening of Sixth Avenue near Airport Boulevard. (Courtesy City of Aurora)

In 2015, Aurora’s roads were rated in fair condition by the Pavement Condition Index, which measures street conditions nationwide. But in the next five years, the quality of the 966 miles of road in the city is expected to drop substantially. City officials blame the decrease in quality on no new revenue sources on the horizon for repairs.

The potential projects the money could be used for include widening parts of East Colfax Avenue, Sixth Avenue and parts of Havana Street and Gun Club Road.

According to city staff, the city could pay off the new debt for Aurora transportation projects from the $4.4 million the city expects annually from marijuana sales. It could also come from increasing the city’s capital projects budget by $2.8 million each year, or 1 percent. Aurora city officials say the city could generate $93 million over 20 years to pay off the debt with the increase.

Aurora Councilwoman At-large Barb Cleland took issue with using marijuana money to fund such a measure.

“It makes me nervous to commit money we hope maintains $4.4 million every year,” she said. “If that money’s not there, it’s coming out of general fund.”

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