Official: It Will Cost $104 Million To Fix Richmond's Roads
Only about a third of Richmond's roads are in good condition, according to a report released by the Department of Public Works.
In a presentation to Richmond City Council on Monday, Director Bobby Vincent said 65 percent of the city's roads are rated "fair to poor" or "poor or below" while only 35 percent are rated "good." That's down from 2014 when 53 percent were in "good" condition. The report, which used a rating system set by the Virginia Department of Transportation, is in line with a citizen survey conducted by the Department of Public Works last year. That survey showed 73 percent of Richmonders were dissatisfied with the state of the city's transportation infrastructure.
Vincent told council members that repairing and repaving all of Richmond’s roads in poor condition is simply an issue of funding. He said it would cost an estimated $104 million.
“The city of Richmond is aware of the deficiencies within its infrastructure," he said. "Funding is required to pave, funding is required to remediate the problems within our public right of way and funding is required to improve the safety of our roadway network.”
The report breaks down road quality by city council district. The best roads are in District 6, which includes Downtown and the Manchester neighborhood. Around 45 percent of the roads there are in good condition. Richmond’s Northside neighborhood has the most roads in disrepair with only 28 percent considered "good or satisfactory."
Mayor Levar Stoney has included $16.2 million for roads and sidewalks in his proposed budget, with much of that funding dependent upon the approval of a property tax increase and the creation of a $.50 cigarette sales tax.
In a heated exchange at Monday's meeting, a few council members demanded Vincent explain why the city was delaying work on road repaving by waiting for the budgeted money to be appropriated on June 1. Council passed a resolution in December asking the mayor to propose a budget amendment that would appropriate $2.2 million in cash reserves for road maintainence. Instead, the Stoney administration wants to roll that money into next year's budget.
City officials say they want to wait until they have comprehensive plan for repaving before beginning work. But council member Kim Gray, who represents District 2, said the delay amounts to "gross negligence" on the part of the city.
"People are breaking ball joints and axles while we are planning," Gray said. "I have people calling me every single day. We are getting claims every single day. This a huge liability for the city not to fix these potholes."
You can view the the Department of Public Works' full report on Richmond's roads here.