Today, Salt Lake City sold the first $20-million installment of the $87-million general obligation bond, approved by voters for the reconstruction of the City’s roads. In September, the Fitch Ratings agency gave Salt Lake City its highest rating—AAA—highlighting the City’s “strong financial management.” The high rating ensured Salt Lake City received a low 2.07% interest rate from JP Morgan which purchased the bond at auction.
“Salt Lake City’s history of being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars has not only allowed the City to weather difficult economic times, it has ensured we are able to receive funding to move forward on large-scale projects at rates which save taxpayers money,” said Mary Beth Thompson, the City’s Finance Director.
During her 2018 State of the City Address, Mayor Biskupski first proposed the idea of the $87-million road repair bond, along with a .5% sales-tax to be used in part for road maintenance, saying at the time the City had an opportunity to “control its own destiny.” The proposal followed a report which showed nearly two-thirds of the City’s roads were rated poor or worse. In November 2018, 67.5% of voters approved the streets reconstruction bond. The City Council approved the 0.5% sales-tax increase in May 2018.
“In recent years, Salt Lake City has taken on the task of replacing, improving, and maintaining our roadways like never before,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Our two-pronged approach is a financially responsible way of reconstructing the City’s worst roads, something residents have been demanding for years, with a revenue stream to maintain our streets so we don’t find ourselves in this position again.”
In Fiscal Year 2019 and 2020, the City used $5.35-million of the new sales tax revenue to purchase equipment and fund a new street maintenance crew, more than doubling the number of lane miles the City maintains annually. In May, in preparation for the new bond revenue, the City’s Engineering Division released a 6-year road reconstruction plan, which includes projects on both major roadways and neighborhood streets. In 2020, the City expects to begin projects on the major streets of 500 East, 2000 East, and 700 West.
“Thanks to the voters of Salt Lake City, who put their trust in our strategic plans, we are beginning a process which will make a significant impact on how our roads look and feel for all users,” added Biskupski. “I am deeply proud of this legacy.”