City, county in big holes in keeping streets fixed

61% in Pima poor or failed; Tucson has $850M backlog
2013-01-11T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T11:19:13Z City, county in big holes in keeping streets fixedBecky Pallack Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 11, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Local transportation directors know streets are in bad shape, but the challenge is how to fix them with an ever-shrinking pot of money.

County Transportation Director Priscilla Cornelio and city Transportation Director Daryl Cole gave "State of the Streets" speeches at a meeting Thursday for WTS, an organization for women in transportation.

With the state seizing road-repair funds to help balance its budget, and with people buying less gas, which generates less gas tax, the county and city cut back on road maintenance.

"We've kind of dug ourselves a hole when we neglected the road maintenance we needed to do," Cornelio said, "and it's going to be very difficult for us to ever get out of that hole."


Pothole problem: About 61 percent of county-owned roads are in poor or failed condition, Cornelio said.

This fiscal year, Pima County is throwing about $20 million at the problem, which will fix up 9 percent of roads, she said.

Cornelio hopes to get another $20 million next fiscal year.

Under construction: Cortaro Farms, La Cholla, La Cañada and Camino de Oeste.

New this year: Construction is coming to Orange Grove between Camino de la Tierra and La Cholla, the so-called "last mile" of Magee between La Cañada and Oracle, and Valencia between Alvernon and Wilmot.


Pothole problem: The city has an $850 million street-maintenance backlog, Cole said. A $20 million street-repair program including fog sealing and microsurfacing projects is under way.

Under construction: Kino and 22nd Street intersection, Grant and Oracle roads intersection and the streetcar line.

New this year: Testing of a new "smart card" system for bus fares will begin next month. The $100 million in bonds approved by voters in November will turn into road projects beginning in July, Cole said.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at bpallack@ or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack

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