Yakima City Leaders struggle to find funding for important street improvement projects - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima City Leaders struggle to find funding for important street improvement projects

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Yakima, WA -  Increased congestion and years of wear and tear are taking a heavy toll on streets in the Cityf of Yakima.

City leaders say the tab to make the necessary improvements stands at more than $74 million.

Paying for projects like this used to be easier, but state and federal grant money has been harder and harder to come by.

The Yakima City Council may have no choice but to approve a bond, or leave it up to voters to decide if they want to pay up, or put up with a rough ride.

Yakima has more than $74 million in un-funded transportation improvement projects that city leaders want completed by the year 2025, but coming up with the money to "green light" these projects is proving to be more than a bump in the road.

"My other car is in repair right now," says Carrie Hernandez, a Yakima driver, "Yeah, because we went over a bump and hit it pretty hard."

Drivers are frustrated with all the cracks and bumps in the streets, as well as increased congestion, which will only get worse if improvements are not made because more growth is projected for Yakima County.

The city's engineers say it's been more than 20-years since major improvements have been made to streets.

Chief engineer Brett Sheffield says there are 36-projects on the city's list right now, but where to begin... 

Widening the Nob Hill corridor from 16th Avenue to 18th Street will cost $7 million.

Switching to an arterial grind and overlay to better maintain roadways will cost about $2.4 million more a year.

"But it's just the cost of doing business," says Sheffield, "I mean especially lately the last three or four years the price of asphalt mixed with gas.  The prices of construction in general have increased by 20 to 30 percent if not more."

The Yakima City Council's Transportation and Transit Committee has a meeting set for tomorrow evening in the council chambers to discuss how they can come up with the money for these projects.