LA: $20 Million in Sidewalk Fund Unused as Cracked Walkways Impede Access
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is doubling the funding for sidewalk repair in the city of Los Angeles to $20 million. What is surprising about the increase is he hasn’t used any of the $10 million already budgeted for the ongoing city concern.
Moreover, according to the Los Angeles Times, if the money is not used before June 30, the last day of the fiscal year, all extra money will be converted back to the city’s general fund. The delay in spending the appropriated funds is a result of a pending lawsuit filed on behalf of some disabled Los Angeles residents who claim the broken walkways violate their rights to public access.
Paul Krekorian, a city councilman, stated that the city is waiting on the outcome of the lawsuit because the final settlement will determine the locations where available funds are to be used. Krekorian says they want to avoid spending on sidewalks that are not part of the settlement.
Mounting cracks and crumbling cement interlaced throughout the city walkways prompted Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn., to assert that the problem should have already been addressed. Stuart laments that the possibility of the money not being used and "going back in the general fund is ridiculous."
Agreeing with Waldman is Councilman Bernard C. Parks. The former Los Angeles Police Department Police Chief insists that the city is facing "an outpouring of requests to fix sidewalks," and it doesn’t make sense that it goes unspent. The Mayor has responded to the criticism by asserting $20 million will now be the budgetary annual minimum for sidewalk repair.
The LA Times further reported that lawmakers were now considering a sales tax increase as a way of building a $640 million sidewalk fund, which would deal with all of L.A.’s worst sidewalks.