James Proposes Sweeping $1B Infrastructure Repair Plan

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City, Missouri, residents have long complained about rough roads, crumbling concrete sidewalks and leaky pipes. Now, Mayor Sly James says that he has a plan to pay for the repairs, but it's not going to be cheap.

Under James' proposal, property taxpayers in Kansas City will see hikes in their tax bills for 10 consecutive years to pay for the $1 billion infrastructure repair plan. The mayor says that if Kansas Citians want their neighborhoods rejuvenates and their streets repaired, they're going to have to start paying for it themselves.

"If we are going to have a city in the next 25, 30, 50 years that stands the test of time, we have to make those investments now," said James. "We finally have to stop kicking the can of maintenance and infrastructure and all of the things that cost a lot of money down the street, step up to the plate, pony up and get the job done."

The proposal calls for the city to borrow $100 million a year for the next 10 years. A middle-income KCMO taxpayer should expect to pay about $50 more a year to pay off the bonds. In the last year of borrowing, the median property tax bill would be about $500 more that before the repair effort started.

Taxpayers told FOX 4 that they agree the streets and infrastructure need fixing, but questions remain as to whether the city will be able to get the job done with their money.

"How will we really know that they're going to spend that kind of money on Kansas City streets?" asked KCMO resident Lisa Ferguson.

Taxpayer Terry Saunders was more blunt with his pessimism.

"When it comes out of my pocket, I don't think the city is going to go for it, or do anything," said Saunders.

In addition to the street repairs and upgrades, the mayor has proposed using the money to rebuild blighted neighborhoods six square blocks at a time.

Members of the City Council told FOX 4 that they need more time to study the proposal.

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