Toledoans have experienced a lot of road construction this summer. The temporary slow downs, while perhaps annoying, represent tax dollars being put to work.
Issue 1 and Issue 4
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz made road repairs a persistent promise of his 2017 campaign, and he hasn’t forgotten those promises. In November 2020, after listening to Toledeans’ opinions on Issue 1, Kapszukiewicz halved the income tax increase, simplified the issue to focus solely on Toledo streets and separated the money completely from the General Fund.
Issue 4 passed last November with 54 percent support, setting Toledo up for a surge in road work this summer, with the four-year temporary 0.25 percent income tax dedicated to fixing our streets.
Infrastructure expenditures seem too often to be kicked down the road due to budget considerations. According to City Councilman Sam Melden, there had been “such little road repair in the past” because “for years the City has been taking money from the Capital Improvement Fund” in order to balance the budget.
“For the first time in Toledo’s history, we have a dedicated funding stream that can only be used for road repair,” said Mayor Kapszukiewicz, who stated that the new initiative will lead to the City repairing more than 40 miles of road a year. This represents a significant increase over the 2.88 miles of road repaired in 2020 and 1.64 miles in 2019. The Toledo City Council approved a plan in January that takes $19 million raised from that levy and allocates it to the 2021 General Resurfacing Program.
All over the city, large scale road construction projects are underway. Mayor Kapszukiewicz stated that “2021 will be remembered for a historic amount of road repair.” Currently, the City is working on ten major roadways, including Summit Street, Airport Highway, Dorr Street, and Hill Avenue, among others.
In addition to these major projects, construction has begun or is slated to on 109 residential streets, including 90 residential resurfacing projects and 19 residential road construction projects. In 2020, Toledo only repaved seven residential streets. In the past, resurfacing was limited to “improved” streets, but this summer, even “unimproved” (streets without curbs and/or sewer grates) will be worked on, with 35 unimproved street overlay projects slated for 2021.
A future without potholes
All of these projects are contracted out and expected to be finished by mid-October. In fact, the contractual language in each specifies for construction to be done by October 1. The hope is that most of the work will be done by the time the Solheim Cup kicks off in late August.
The national golf tournament has been a “consideration for every single project this calendar year,” according to Councilman Melden. There might be some construction still continuing away from the event, but the Dorr Street corridor to Downtown should be in good shape when the golf balls start flying at the Inverness Club.
Mr. Melden also looks forward to the Toledo that residents will see in four years after close to $80 million has been spent on our roads, saying “Our neighborhoods will be much better off.” City Council President Matt Cherry adds, “This will finally get Toledo’s residential infrastructure back to where we need it, and it’s going to be a long road, but we’re going to make Toledo an even better place to live in the future.” A long road indeed, and also, now, well-paved.
More Information can be found at https://toledo.oh.gov/roads
Current and Future 2021 Projects:
10 Major Roadways
19 Residential Road Reconstruction Projects
90 Residential Resurfacing Projects
56 Patch and Seal
35 Unimproved Street Overlay Projects
13 Water Main projects