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'We've dug ourselves into a hole,' County leaders discuss funding options for road repair
"We've dug ourselves into a hole." County leaders discuss funding options for road repair Video by kgun9.comvideo
Pima County has begun looking at its budget for the next fiscal year, and road repair projects seem to be a priority.
Over time, the roads in Tucson Mountain Village have gotten worse. Residents there contacted 9OYS to find out why it seems their neighborhood is neglected.
District 3 Supervisor Sharon Bronson says she hopes this neighborhood will be among those in the next round of projects.
Reporter: Rikki Mitchell
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - In a small neighborhood near the Tucson mountains, the residents all share the same concern -- the roads.
The road in front of Stephanie Castillo's house is so bad, she is afraid to let her daughter play in the front yard.
"My little girl can't walk because the road's so bad, I'm scared of her falling and breaking her leg," said Castillo.
And she's not alone. Many residents said the same thing. It's ruining their tires, it's dangerous and something needs to be done.
So I took their concerns to the Pima County Director of Transportation, Priscilla Cornelio, who said unfortunately, there are just too many roads and not enough money.
She said 60 percent of the roads in Pima County are in poor or failed condition.
"Because of the lack of funding over the last few years, we've in essence dug ourselves into a hole," she said. "And I don't know how we're going to get out of it."
But Cornelio doesn't decide the budget. County Supervisors do, and Sharon Bronson is one of them.
She agreed to sit down with me, hear these concerns, and watch some of KGUN9's coverage of the issue.
Afterward, she said the board of supervisors has already set aside $20 million for transportation, and are asking other departments to find ways to cut back so more money can go to roads.
"This issue has some real urgency," said Bronson. "We're trying to find ways to address it without decreasing the services that our constituents are demanding in other areas."
Bronson told me the board is hoping to give transportation $38 million for next year.
She's also hopeful state legislators will stop taking money from the Highway User Revenue Fund, or HURF, to pay for services other than roads.
"They're sweeping those funds to pay for the Department of Public Safety," she said. "For us that amounts to about $3 million. That would fill a lot of potholes."
Bronson also pointed out that the state has not adjusted gas tax revenues for inflation since the 80s. Those funds are a big source of HURF dollars and pay for transportation projects.
"We have to be careful," she said. "We're kinda slow in this economic recovery so we don't want to do it in a way that's going to hurt the recovery. But we really do have to address how we pay for our roads. That has to be done at the state level."
Bronson told me she hopes Stephanie Castillo's neighborhood will see some road cash in the next budget cycle, but stopped short of making any promises.
In the meantime, any pothole problems or safety issues can be called in to the Department of Transportation. Cornelio said they can usually get a crew out within two to three weeks to fix any issues.
To report pothole problems to the Department of Transportation, call 740-2639.
Pima County is currently in the process of repairing roads in phases. Bronson says they hope to have the four phases completed sometime this summer, depending on the monsoon.
To see a cost breakdown of the four phases, and which streets are seeing repairs,