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Times Herald Feature: Road Repair Bond

My comments on a proposed bond for road repair were featured in a Vallejo Times-Herald article today, and also quoted in a Vallejo Sun article. This is a major decision which will have repercussions for decades to come.

My key concerns are:

(1) The nature of road repair requires us to spread the expenditure over many years, meaning we have the ability to "pay as you go" rather than take on debt to finance it. Bonding for road repair isn't necessary and will require us to pay tens of millions in interest (most likely $50-100 million) and be saddled with debt payments for an additional 6 - 21 years after the project is completed. After the money runs out in Year 9, we would be stuck paying off the bond and wouldn't have money for ongoing maintenance which would begin another cycle of deterioration. With the pay as you go option, we get the same amount of road repair in the short-term and have funds to sustainably fund road maintenance indefinitely.

(2) Bonding for road repair will make it difficult, if not impossible, to fund other important projects such as a new police station. We need to be selective about which projects we take on debt to finance, and a bond measure is going to likely be the best (if not only) option to fund a new police station. It is a much better fit to pay as you go for road repair and save the bond option for other priorities.

For decades, City of Vallejo officials have taken the easy way out, ignoring our systemic issues and opting for the short-term, politically expedient options. We need to reverse that course ASAP. What I'm proposing here is doing the right thing for the medium to long term, even if it's less politically expedient in the short term. In fact, I am proposing something that would make my time as Mayor more difficult, but would put the city on a bright and sustainable path in the medium and long term.

I sent a detailed email to city council outlining my concerns. I will publish the entire email at some point soon, for anyone who is interested.

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