Thursday, January 14, 2010
How Should Evansville Finance These Projects?
Hopefully, by now you have had time to read through some of the ideas I have listed on here. Some of you are probably saying to yourself, that's a great idea(s) but how can Evansville afford these idea(s)? Since financing has been the main problem that has doomed most projects in this city, I have compiled a funding list for each project that I believe will adequately support each project. However, Evansville has fallen behind most metro cities in the U.S and thus needs one successful public works project like Oklahoma City did.
In 1992, Oklahoma City kicked off a program called MAPS (Metropolitan Area Projects)(http://www.okc.gov/maps/index.html) The first program raised $362 million by creating a one percent sales tax for only a five year period. The program successfully funded nine projects such as renovations to the Civic Center Music Hall, Cox Convention Center and Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, construction of the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, construction of the Ford Center, construction of the "Bricktown Canal," construction of a riverfront and recreational dams for the North Canadian River, construction of the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, a new Library/Learning Center, and development of the Oklahoma Spirit Trolleys. MAPS 2 funded public schools and now MAPS 3 has recently passed last december There are 8 projects included the new MAPS proposal: (yesformaps.com)
◦A new, approximately 70-acre world-class destination park
◦A new rail-based streetcar system, plus potential funding for other rail transit initiatives, such as commuter lines and a transit hub
◦A new downtown convention center
◦Sidewalks to be placed on major streets and near facilities used by the public throughout the City
◦57 miles of new public bicycling and walking trails throughout the City
◦Improvements to the Oklahoma River, including a public whitewater kayaking facility and upgrades intended to achieve the finest rowing racecourse in the world
◦State-of-the-art health and wellness aquatic centers throughout the City designed for senior citizens
◦Improvements to the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds
With that being said, I think a MAPS program would do wonders for Evansville. In exchange for 1% of the sales tax, Evansville could complete at least 6-7 of these projects in the first 5 years, and the rest could be in the next MAPS proposal. If you take the MAPS program, reallocate the gas tax from roads to high speed rail and cable cars, set up TIF districts around the canal and riverwalk, sell naming rights to the ballpark, statues and bricks around the ballpark, public schools, uniforms on teachers, and to stations and PODs on the PRT system and you could have every single project I have proposed fully funded and fully supported within the next decade!