How do we pay for badly needed road improvements? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

How do we pay for badly needed road improvements?

City Mgr. Susan Subadan City Mgr. Susan Subadan
Phil Roberson Phil Roberson
Bruce Maples Bruce Maples
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Albany officials say the city's infrastructure needs lots of improvements.  The big question is how to pay for all the repairs. 

Tuesday, city officials started discussions on how to accomplish some big goals. Most agreed roads had to be the top priority.

Albany city officials say roads full of potholes not only hurt your quality of life, but could even cost new jobs.

"All roads lead to economic development. If our infrastructure is strong and sound, I think it helps position us for future economic development," said Albany City Manager Sharon Subadan.

On 16th Avenue, a water pipe burst and caused the street to cave in. Officials say the city infrastructure has lots of concerns like this, starting with the roads, which bring in lots of complaints.

"Pretty much daily. And I mean it's warranted," Albany Assistant City Manager Phil Roberson said.

There are 550 miles of streets in the city limits, and the average street age is 50 years old. 37% of Albany streets are rated in very poor or poor condition.  It would cost $25 million to get them back to satisfactory condition, but the resurfacing budget comes up $3.14 million short each year. 

So the problem gets worse. "They only have a useful life of so long, about 15 years.  So you have to keep new asphalt on there to keep them in good condition," Albany City Engineer Bruce Maples said.

City leaders want to discuss borrowing money or seeking grants to repair the infrastructure sooner rather than later.
"We have employed a pay as you go mechanization, and that has served us well. But in the future we may want to consider other options," Subadan said.

Because road experts say delaying resurfacing the roads will lead to much more costly road repairs needed in the future.

Today officials wanted to give city commissioners some facts so they can start considering those funding options of infrastructure repair. Commissioners should begin debate next month.

Copyright 2016 WALB.  All rights reserved. 

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