(Memphis) Driving in parts of Memphis can feel more like a demolition derby thanks to all the potholes in the road.
The problem is so bad that Mayor A C Wharton spent a large part of his state of the city address talking about fixing Memphis roads.
Next year’s budget is expected to be tens of millions of dollars short, but despite that, Mayor Wharton claims fixing pot holes and repaving roads is a top priority because it impacts everyone.
“Quality of life today does matter,” said Wharton.
In his state of the city address Tuesday Mayor Wharton said the city needs to be careful not to focus so much on the future that it misses the problems Memphians face every day like pot holes.
“When you’re worrying about if you’re going to have to buy a new tire or a new wheel or get your tire aligned just because you’re trying to get to work, folks don’t have time to worry about five years from now. They’re thinking they’re trying to get to work without wrecking their cars,” said Wharton.
Public works employees are being instructed to call in any pot hole they see at all times so the city can address it.
The mayor even more pot holes will be popping up because of the extreme temperature swings the city is seeing which makes it even more important to dedicate the money to fix them.
Councilman Lee Harris says road problems are the cities highest priority.
“I think the mayor was right on target to dedicate a lot of his speech to pot holes and quality of life issues,” said Harris.
Council members like Harris have already dedicated $3.5 million to repave 45 percent more roads than last year. Wharton says this is a part of the infrastructure plan.
“This is big. You’ve heard about what you’re paving cycle. ‘Every 70 years!’ Well that means most folks won’t see their street repaved,” said Wharton.
Some opponents to the plan say when the budget is this tight more resources should be allocated to public safety efforts like fire and police.
Wharton claims updating the city’s infrastructure is a matter of public safety, and the city is installing an average of 1,000 curb ramps a year for senior citizens to get around.
They city is also repairing miles of sidewalks as part of the safe routes to schools project.