The half-cent sales tax: another 10 years

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Topeka voters passed an extension to the city-wide half cent sales tax Tuesday night.

Cheryl Koehn is ready for her tax dollars to help finish construction near 29th and Burlingame Rd.

"We have a lot of traffic by our house going to work and coming home from work and speed is a problem,” Koehn said.

Despite the construction right outside her door, she voted in favor of extending the city's half-cent sales tax.

"I think the Topeka roads are needing more repair than what we're seeing and we are seeing progress,” said Koehn. “However, the progress here has been rather slow."

The city says money from the sales tax will make up 52 percent of the city's budget to fix streets.

“Having certainty of funding allows us to plan and implement that plan,” Director of Public Works Jason Peek said.

Some Topekans want better planning so multiple projects at the same time don't add to congestion. Peek says it can't always be avoided.

“Construction takes time, especially when we have to dig up a road and replace it,” said Peek. “We have to coordinate with our underground utilities, our water, our sewer, our telecommunications and power.”

Peek says a limited number of contractors also adds to the challenge, not everyone has the specialized equipment, crews and skilled labor.

“We have competitive bidding on all these and you know the work seems to be spread out among several contractors at the current time,” Peek said.

With over 1,600 lane miles of streets the tax could be back on you ballot in another 10 years.

"We never want to pay more taxes but if it's going to something like road repair, I think it's a good thing,” Koehn said.