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City can’t afford to delay road work

Take note, Rio Rancho.

In the March 1 municipal election, one of the issues facing us is whether to approve general obligation bonds for road improvements and, since early voting has started, it’s time to get educated, get to the polls and cast your vote.

The city is asking voters to approve the bonds to improve the roads in our fair city, something few people can deny is greatly needed. Most of the people we meet cite poor roads as the biggest problem facing Rio Rancho.

The question, however, becomes whether citizens are willing to raise their taxes to pay for improved roads. The bond will raise $9 million to be used for roads, and it will cost taxpayers who own a $100,000 house about $7.30 a year for the next two years.

When Rio Rancho voters turned down the last bond issue for roads in 2011, it greatly slowed down street improvements in our city. Although money from the city’s budget includes allocations for roads, there is not enough there to take care of all the problems, especially the major ones.

Now, it seems to us, we have no choice. Our roads are in horrible shape and will continue to get worse if we don’t do something. This proposal is a good option although, keep in mind, it’s not a one-shot deal. The plan is to ask the voters to renew the bond every two years without increasing our taxes to continue working on roads.

We can list all the negatives. Many folks are hurting financially and even a few more dollars affect their lives. It’s especially difficult when all the taxing institutions want their own tax increases for seemingly worthwhile causes. It adds up quickly. This one is important though, and we can be assured it will truly help our community.

Also, people complain that because, in the past, the city has made some poor decisions that continue to cost us today, we shouldn’t give them more money. There is probably some truth in that argument, but we still need our roads fixed, and we can’t leave it for the next generation. Think how bad our roads would be in five or 10 years if we just did nothing. Think how much money we would spend on upkeep for our cars if we were driving on worse roads than we have now.

Plans are already in the works for fixing Southern Boulevard (Hallelujah!), and funds from this new bond issue will be primarily used for High Resort Boulevard and Sara Road. Any extra funds, coupled with money from the city budget, will be used for other road projects.

Approval of this bond issue is an investment in ourselves, in our community. With our vote, we are guaranteeing the money will be spent on roads in Rio Rancho, not lost in the abyss of government bureaucracy. It will cost less to fix our roads today than it will in another five years – not only will the roads be in worse shape then, costs will have gone up.

So, we urge folks to vote yes on the GO bonds for Rio Rancho. We hate to have our taxes raised, but we believe this is important and necessary. Let’s get moving before our roads get any worse.

Contact the Ryans at ryan@abqjournal.com.

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