Increase tax to help
pay for improved roads
The City of Asheville currently maintains approximately 404 miles of streets within the city — that’s almost enough roadway to get an Ashevillian all the way to Virginia Beach. Each year, the Streets Division of the Public Works Department has to determine which streets most need to be repaved, with the funds available. For fiscal year 2016-2017, which begins in July, approximately $2 million is allocated.
The determination on which streets most need paving is made by grading each street’s condition on a 1 to 100 scale, called a Pavement Condition Index rating (PCI). Currently, Asheville’s average PCI rating is 60. “We’re headed in the right direction, and we want to continue to see that number increase,” said Public Works Director Greg Shuler.
The City recently completed a survey of every road segment it maintains. A subsequent report provided survey analysis and a plan to continually increase the condition of Asheville’s street network through a combination of preservation, minor rehabilitation, reconstruction and preventative maintenance. See a copy of the report here: Asheville resurfacing executive summary.
“In the recent past, the City has primarily focused on reconstruction and minor rehabilitation treatment methods. In the future the City will… also include preventative maintenance and preservation treatments,” the report states. “By diversifying treatment types, the City will be able to maintain and preserve the condition of excellent and good roads at a low cost while continuing to rehabilitate and reconstruct roads at a higher cost.”
The cost savings of preventative maintenance is substantial. It costs roughly $2 million to reconstruct four miles of road in poor condition. That same budget can provide preventative maintenance on 66 miles of road when it is still in good condition.
“You’ll see our crews doing road work on roads that may look to be in reasonable condition,” said Shuler. “But that maintenance will prevent taxpayers from having to pay for a total reconstruction of that same road later. It’s fiscally responsible to maintain roads when they are in good condition.”
Paying for paving
The new vehicle fee increase is one way the City will be able to spend more on getting the roads in better shape. During the 2015 session, the General Assembly granted municipalities the authority to increase the annual motor vehicle license fee up to a maximum of $30. While the City of Asheville’s motor vehicle license fee had been $10 in the past, the 2016-2017 budget raises it to $30.
The $1.4 million in additional revenue this $20 increase will generate can only be used for street maintenance costs. Of the other $10 portion of the fee, $5 goes to public transit and $5 to general revenue.
Motorists will see this fee on their vehicle registration bill. This increase will be reflected when you go to register your tag. It is a flat fee, unlike the vehicle taxes which vary with the value of your car.
Paving gets under way
City contractors have already begun patching the streets in preparation for paving. Here is a list of streets to be paved this year.
Asphalt Paving FY16
Street From To
Braddock Way All
Lakeshore Drive Merriman Avenue Mt. Vernon Place
Bear Creek Road Patton Avenue Old County Home Road
Oak Forest Drive All
Westridge Drive N. Oak Forest Drive Springside Road
Old Haw Creek Road Middlebrook Road Bethesda Road
Middlebrook Road Old Haw Creek Road New Haw Creek Road
Patton Avenue N. French Broad College Street
Washington Road All
Broad Street Washington Road N. Liberty Street
Victoria Road Meadow Road McDowell Street
Chapel Road Hendersonville Road Marietta Street
Woodland Road Sunset Parkway Ridgewood Place