Last week, we asked you about infrastructure in your community. How are your sidewalks, bridges, or hospitals? What’s broken in your community, in your home, and what’s preventing the fix?
Is it money?
Our town-hall style interactions led to some interesting answers: some people wanted basic infrastructure changes or repairs: smoother roads, cleaner spaces. Others asked for better bike lanes, community wifi, and other things that might be considered amenities, rather than necessities.
To get a better sense of how cities make decisions and prioritize upkeep and development, we spoke to two city councilmembers in very different places: Santa Monica, California, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Sue Himmelrich is a lawyer and a city councilmember in Santa Monica, where there’s money for upkeep, but a constant question of accommodating a fast-growing population that frequently prices out vulnerable communities.
In Colorado Springs, things are pretty different: money is much tighter, and the city council has to make a lot of tough calls. In 2010, Colorado Springs turned off one third of its streetlights to save money, and when it comes to fixing potholes — a common problem — there are major budget constraints. Potholes also compete with police and fire stations for money.
City Council member Andy Pico says bike shares and wifi aren’t even on his list.
To hear more about how cities budget for fixes, tune in using the audio player above.
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