Mayor Parker seeks more money for pothole repairs

HOUSTON - Houston Mayor Annise Parker wants to spend nearly $50 million repairing the city's roads.  She made the announcement Thursday during her budget proposal for the 2015 fiscal year.  The plan includes a proposed 27 percent increase from $38.8 million for road maintenance in 2014 to $49.4 million in 2015.

Often annoying and sometimes dangerous, potholes are a big problem for Houston drivers.

"It's a major issue right now," said Houston Public Works spokesman Alvin Wright.  "We want to get the roads done because we drive on the exact same roads everybody else does."

The money would need to be divvied between complete road reconstruction and patchwork.

"It's a good start," Wright said referring to the proposed $10 million funding increase. "We have enough work that would allow us to use up $20 million more."

Although city crews fixed more than 50,000 potholes last year alone, many drivers are still frustrated with their bumpy commutes.

"I've been all over the United States and this is probably one of the worst places for potholes," said driver Guy Renda.  "I've been (in Houston) for about 4 months now and that's the one thing I notice about the city - there are potholes everywhere. They're horrible."

Mayor Parker said despite fiscal limitations on the Rebuild Houston program and her commitment to long-term road solutions, she's in favor of spending on temporary road repairs.

"We have to have revenue available for the quick fixes," Mayor Parker said Thursday.  "We can't skip over just the patch and repair work that needs to be done."

The proposed city budget must be finalized by June 30.

"This (proposed) extra money will allow us to go out and do more of the work," Wright said. "It's not going to get all the work completely done. But it will get us to the point where we can actually wrap our arms around it in the future."

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