Cedar Rapids expects to spend around $19 million on road repairs as the city pushes expansion of 1-cent sales tax

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 9:18 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The city of Cedar Rapids, along with leaders from other cities around Linn County, announced on Wednesday that they plan to ask voters to expand a one-cent local option sales tax on November 2nd. The tax is set to expire in 2024 and a vote to approve the tax again would expand it for another ten years.

Officials said the extension could create $310 million in revenue to create road repairs and fund other improvements to places like libraries. Each city will decide for itself how it will use the money provided from the tax if the extension is passed. The tax currently works this way as well. The city of Cedar Rapids expects to spend around $19 million on road repairs this year with the funding it receives through the tax.

Drivers, like Brad Wilbanks, can see the number of construction projects around the city of Cedar Rapids and Linn County. He calls it “road construction galore.”

Willbanks, who is a DoorDash delivery man, said the increase in traffic from construction means he’s making less money doing deliveries.

“I door-dashed for about seven hours and I made a little over $100,” he said. “But, I did 19 deliveries when I could have done 26 because I was spending half my day rerouting myself.”

Willbanks still supports the money cities in Linn County are spending on road repairs, but he wishes the city would spread out construction over the year.

Emily Breen, who is a spokesperson for the city of Cedar Rapids, said the city performs around 35 projects during the summer that are funded through the sales tax. This summer she said the city is doing 40 projects.

Breen also said the construction traffic is coming from a number of other projects, which are also going on during the summer. Those include flood control projects, a variety of capital improvement projects, private construction work, and tree removal work.

“Many projects tend to start at the same time, as it’s not unusual for contractors to want to begin their projects as soon as the weather allows,” Breen said.

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