State's pothole funding falls short

May 13, 2008 4:38:17 PM PDT
Many of Chicago's pothole-ridden streets will not be repaired anytime soon, according to transportation officials who say a lack of state funding is forcing them to put the patching and repaving of Chicago's arterial streets on hold.

The Chicago Department of Transportation says that arterial resurfacing has been put on hold over the last two years because they are in need of funding from the state and that as long as the state will not match our funding they cannot do the projects. However, the lack of funds has not stopped them from attacking the pothole problems that plague our city.

"We're not losing the battle on potholes. We need funding from the state in the last two years, we're working diligently with them to get the money so we can do arterial resurfacing," said Commissioner Thomas Byrne, Chicago Department of Transportation.

The commissioner says the arterials are not the only streets in desperate need of resurfacing. Pothole-filled residential streets also need resurfacing and work.

"The state owes us $80 million. I would like to see the city gets the money. I don't know what the hang up is, but certainly we'll be working with the legislature down there to get that money," said Ald. James Balcer, 11th Ward.

Department of Transportation commissioner Thomas Byrne says the city's pothole situation changes daily and that they receive between 200 to 900 complaints every day about the problem. He added that last year there were over 12,000 potholes in the 3-1-1 system and that they are now down to 2,200.

The commissioner says they are aggressively attacking the problem with 20-plus trucks repairing the potholes and an emergency crew on staff at midnight.

"Since December 1, the department has filled somewhere in the area of around 400,000 potholes. They are aggressively out there in bad weather and good weather to do that job. That job now currently is helping us because the weather has turned for us as drier conditions out there, we get a better patch," said Byrne.

Alderman Balcer is on the transportation committee and believes the city is doing a good job.

"I believe the commissioner, Tom Byrne, and everyone under him, they're doing a great job. They're working as hard as they can. They put extra people on. It's a yeoman's task with this bad winter we had. But I believe they'll get it cleaned up pretty soon," said Balcer.

IDOT spokesperson Mike Claffey says that IDOT provided $4.5 million for Lake Shore Drive resurfacing, but Illinois needs a capital funding bill to be passed by the General Assembly to provide for our long-term funding needs across the state and that they have been saying that for the last three to four years.


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