City will tackle local road problems

The Legislature has yet to finalize any plan to fix crumbling state roads, and there is no assurance lawmakers will be able to agree on a bill, especially with Gov. Nikki Haley’s threat to veto any plan that doesn’t drastically reduce income taxes. Meanwhile, though, the city of Rock Hill is coming to the rescue.

The city’s proposed budget this year includes $300,000 more than last year’s for paving roads and filling potholes. The plan includes working not only on city roads but also deteriorating state roads inside city limits.

The proposed budget increases road repair money for fiscal year 2016 from $500,000 to $800,000. And an additional $300,000 is proposed for the following year.

Also included in the proposal is money for two new pothole trucks and two city crews focused full-time on filling potholes. The money for these projects comes from a projected $300,000 in savings from reduced fuel costs, as well as $60,000 from raising the business license cap on manufacturers and car dealers.

The decision to spend additional money for road repairs no doubt is, at least in part, the result of city officials and council members getting blasted by constituents about the sorry state of local thoroughfares. Council members also testified during the recent budget session that they were tired of telling frustrated residents in their districts that there was nothing the city could do about state roads.

A pothole is a pothole, whether it’s located on a city road or a state road. And either way, it’s just as annoying.

However, we share Councilman Kevin Sutton’s concern that having local crews take care of state roads could be a slippery slope. It might entice state officials to delegate more of the state’s road responsibilities to the city.

Then again, we think the city is right to take the risk. There is no foreseeable way the state is going to fix local potholes on its roads anytime soon, and using city crews to do the work may be the only practical solution for the time being.

We also, by the way, like Councilman John Black’s proposal to bill the state for the cost and material of filling potholes on state roads.

It is amply clear that repairing our roads is a high priority – if not the highest priority – for state residents. That applies to national, state and local roads that are crumbling and pocked with potholes.

Bad roads are a disincentive to tourists and bad for business. They also are the cause of many costly car repairs.

We’re grateful that city officials are willing to step up and address this issue in a meaningful way. We thank them – and our cars thank them.

In summary

The city of Rock Hill will increase the amount of money it spends on paving roads and fixing potholes for at least the next two years.