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Pothole complaints surge, according to city records


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– City crews work through a growing list of potholes nearly every day of the year.

We asked the city of Lansing for a list of all the potholes complaints they received since the beginning of 2017, through October 31 of 2019.

In 2017 they got just under 1300 pothole complaints in the city. As of Halloween this year, the number doubled to more than 2400.

That’s more than 200 potholes per month in the city alone.

Public Service director Andy Kilpatrick says that number jumped partially because of a new online reporting tool. He does, however, attribute most of the potholes to natural wear and tear.

“We would expect that as the condition of the roads deteriorates,” Kilpatrick says, “the number of pothole requests and the potholes we fill will continue to go up.”

The city gets to all of those complaints, according to Kilpatrick, but it usually takes them at least a day. Officials have devoted most of their resources away from other projects to deal with potholes including road paving and sidewalk maintenance.

Most of their funding comes from the state gas tax, which Kilpatrick says hasn’t gone up in 20 years. He says the city needs that money.

“We might need up to an 80 cent increase, and that’s really because over time we have not been keeping up with the cost of inflation and the roads get worse,” he says, “and so the fixes become more and more expensive the longer we wait to have sufficient funding for roads and other infrastructure.”

The city can’t raise its own gas tax to fix the issue. That power lies with state lawmakers and Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who says she’s still trying to find solutions.

“This Republican-led legislature didn’t want to fix the roads despite what they said out in the public,” Whitmer said. “I’m gonna proceed because we can’t wait. This is a crisis looming and as we get close to next spring it’s going to be the worst pothole season in history.”

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