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The City of Taylor recently completed its 2017 Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) study, which will lead to future road repairs in the community as part of a 10-year comprehensive plan.
The City is required to do a PASER study every two years. The study involves visiting every street in Taylor, and rating the “health” of the roadway. The ratings vary from 1 (failed) to 10 (excellent) and everywhere in between.
The system was developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Transportation Information Center. The visual inspection to evaluate pavement surface conditions, when assessed correctly, provides a basis for comparing the quality of roadway segments. The advantage of this method is that roads may be assessed consistently, constantly and quickly.
In and of itself, the PASER study does not define the schedule of the roadwork. Communities are required to prioritize, focusing first on major roads. Once the major roads are taken care of, City officials evaluate the local roads for “greatest need,” which involves many factors, including traffic volume, school access, etc. The City also analyzes residential complaints about roads annually, and factors them into the overall schedule.
As the construction season is turns toward fall, Goddard and Pardee roads are already on the radar for previously planned improvements, and work on sections of Westlake are already underway.
Mayor Rick Sollars expects City leaders to finalize the next schedule of road repairs in October or November, when the next road funding allocations are announced. That work will begin in spring 2018. The majority of community roadwork funding is captured through Act 51 (essentially the gas tax). Metro Act 48 can also be the source of some local repair funding. Given that 25 percent of Taylor sits in a Tax Increment Finance Authority, road improvements in some locations can be funded by TIFA dollars.
Taylor has stayed away from using general funds for road repairs. In addition, there has been no discussion of any special levies for road repairs. “It’s difficult to use general fund dollars on roads,” Mayor Sollars said. “And residents are already taxed enough, so a special road repair tax would likely be out of the question at this point in time.”
The City has attempted to stretch its road repair dollars as far as possible by focusing on panel replacement versus complete road rebuilds. Replacing concrete panels when possible focuses on fixing problematic areas of the roadway without replacing the entire thoroughfare, and keeps costs in relative check.