ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Lawmakers at the State Capitol are pushing for emergency money to repair all the potholes Minnesotans are dealing with these days. That’s after a brutal winter has left many Twin Cities roads in need of immediate repair.
A bill introduced Wednesday in the Transportation Finance Committee would give $15 million to patch up potholes on highways and city streets. Several lawmakers said they’ve gotten the most feedback for road projects and improvements they can remember after one of the most difficult winters in recent memory.
Democrat Barb Yarusso authored a house bill to take millions from the state’s general fund to help with the pothole problem. She said the challenge is potholes can’t be permanently fixed until it’s warm out. Quick fixes while it’s cold are about $300, but the permanent fixes can start at $1,000 per pothole.
It’s difficult for cities to cope because they have smaller maintenance budgets and have to take from other repairs to focus on fixing potholes, which have exploded in number after this awful winter. But, as Yarusso said, the cost to Minnesota drivers can be even greater if they hit a pothole.
“People that have had tire damage, people also get alignment damage. Accidents are caused by some of these, and chunks of pavement get thrown up other passers-by and people’s cars,” Yarusso said. “So I urge you to pass this bill.”
Lawmakers will discuss this bill and hope to get a vote soon. The problem is a major pain for drivers who are voters. There’s also talk of using some of the state’s budget surplus of more than $1 billion to help fund the road improvements.
Lawmakers said the focus should be on preventative measures instead of fixing roads because for every $1 in maintenance spent, it’s estimated to save $7 in repair costs.