Council slow to chop road funding

Council slow to chop road funding

June 7th, 2010 by Cliff Hightower in Politics Local

BY THE NUMBERS

* $15.5 million: Total road requests in 2010-11 fiscal year capital budget

* $2 million: Money requested for road maintenance in 2010-2011 general fund budget

* $300,000: Amount of money for maintenance in state street aid fund

Source: Chattanooga government

Pothole Patrol

Cuts to all kinds of city programs and facilities have been talked about, but axing dollars for the city's crumbling roads could be last in line, City Council members say.

"We're so far behind," Councilwoman Pam Ladd said. "Too much money has already been siphoned out."

Part of the mayor's proposed property tax increase of 64 cents per $100 of assessed value would help cover about $2 million in road maintenance. The city did not have any money in the pavement budget last year. Before that, the paving program averaged $1.5 million a year, officials said.

How much, if anything, will be put into the city's new pavement management program remains to be seen, city pavement manager Eddie Tate said.

"What they give us, we'll work with," he said.

Mr. Tate said the program is supposed to be more scientific and tell city engineers which roads are the worst and the best to repair and maintain in Chattanooga.

The Department of Public Works has requested $15.5 million in capital budget requests this year. Those items are usually road building projects.

The department is also slated to get $3.9 million in state street aid, records show. Out of that, $300,000 will go for maintenance and the rest for materials and 95 Public Works employee salaries.

Mr. Tate said the maintenance money will be used for preserving roads using cheaper methods of paving such as sealing, which makes them last longer.

Councilman Jack Benson said last week he would like a list of specific road projects and how the money will help. He said there may be some projects that could wait one more year.

"We're just trying to get enough buoys to keep us afloat one more year," he said.

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