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City wants county to share cost of extending D Street
By JAYSON JACOBY
Of the Baker City Herald
Baker City Manager Gordon Zimmerman still hopes to ease traffic congestion on Campbell Street by extending D Street across the Powder River, creating another east-west route across the city.
But he'll need Baker County's money to do it.
And maybe some of its trucks, too.
Zimmerman presented his plan to the City Council Tuesday.
Councilors authorized him to continue discussing the proposal with county officials.
"I think D Street's critical," Councilor Randy Daugherty said. "We need to go forward, get with the county, make it a cooperative effort and get the street done."
Extending D Street across the river is among the projects listed in the city's 1996 transportation plan.
Now, the street ends at Main Street, just west of the river, and resumes on the east side at Walnut Street.
Most cross-town traffic funnels onto Campbell Street, which between Main Street and Interstate 84 is the busiest section of street in the city.
Which also makes it the busiest section of street in Baker County, Zimmerman pointed out in his report to the council.
Extending D Street would create another route between 10th Street, one of the city's main westside arterials, and Cedar Street, near the bustling Campbell Street commercial strip.
Here's how Zimmerman proposes to pay for the near $1 million job, which also includes paving Clark Street between Cedar and D streets:
The city already has secured a state grant of up to $500,000.
It requires the city (or city and county) to match the state money dollar for dollar, Zimmerman said.
If city workers designed the street and county crews paved it, the balance of the cost, minus the state dollars, would total about $480,000, he said.
He proposes the city pay $240,000, the county a like amount.
Fred Warner Jr., chairman of the Baker County Board of Commissioners, said this morning that he received a copy of Zimmerman's proposal Tuesday.
Warner said commissioners probably will discuss the plan at their next meeting, set for March 5.
"We've been interested in the D Street extension for a long time, but we need to look at the numbers to see if it's viable," Warner said.
In his report to the council, Zimmerman pointed out that city residents are responsible for a majority of the gas tax revenue the county receives from the state.
The state distributes that money based on the number of registered vehicles in each county.
Baker County, with about 22,600 registered vehicles, receives about $900,000 per year, Zimmerman said.
About 59 percent of the county's 16,700 residents live inside the Baker City limits, he said.
It's probable, Zimmerman said, that a similar percentage of the county's registered vehicles are owned by city residents.
"The fact is obvious that at least half of the county (gas tax) revenue is generated within the city limits," he wrote in his report to the council.
"The project is still a commendable one," Zimmerman said. "We just need to figure out how to pay for it."