KANSAS CITY, Mo (WDAF). — As complaints about potholes resurface again this year, there’s growing debate over how much money taxpayers should spend to maintain and resurface the city’s road system.
Some on the City Council fear streets may continue to get shortchanged.
It won’t surprise many drivers to learn that seven out of 10 Kansas City roads are rated in poor or failing condition.
What is getting the council’s attention is that an asset management specialist estimates that it will cost $765 million today to improve the street system to at least good condition or better.
“We don’t have enough money, high deferred maintenance,” Ali Roohanirad, a professional engineer, said. “Also, construction costs and material costs are going up every year.”
The infrastructure committee wants engineers to start identifying the worst main thoroughfares and prioritize them for reconstruction and repair.
“We need to fix our infrastructure. That’s what this mayor ran on,” Teresa Loar, the infrastructure committee chair, said. “So we’re going to go back and take care of number one, the roads. That’s what we owe people.”
Loar said she wants to see the city’s streets rated at 70% or higher under the Pavement Condition Index.
She said in the last fiscal year the city spent only about $4 million on street maintenance. This year, the city is spending $17 million on road repairs.
Loar said she also supports boosting that to $40 million in next year’s budget, still a far cry from what’s needed.
The committee also learned that in 10 years, if there’s no change in the city’s road repair spending, the cost of fixing the streets is estimated to skyrocket to $1.2 billion.