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Tax hike plan in the works to fix Tacoma’s ‘historic problem’

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TACOMA -- Travelling through Tacoma can be a bumpy ride. Drivers like Patty Cowan say potholes are becoming an epidemic.

“Roads are getting pretty bad,” said Cowan. “They really need to be looked at.”

City leaders say they already spend $11 million a year on the pothole problem, and it’s still not enough.

“I think we’ve got an historic problem with the roads across the city,” said City Councilor Robert Thoms,  “The problem is real and it’s acute and it needs to be fixed now.”

Thoms is backing the mayors’ plan to raise $325 million in new taxes to fix the roads. The ballot measure goes before voters in November. It would increase property tax on the average Tacoma home by about $7.50 a month.

City leaders say it’s the only way to get on top of the growing problem.

Voters rejected a similar proposal two years ago that would have increased the tax on utilities earnings. Many feared it would lead to an increase in utility rates.

Thoms says this time, he believes voters will agree to a tax increase if it means the potholes are fixed and the roads get better. Potholes are still the number one complaint he hears from citizens.

“We’re seeing what happen when you don’t put something into the problem.”