TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — You don’t have to go far in the City of Tampa to find a pothole or crumbling asphalt.
Valerie Newman first noticed a growing pothole on her Tampa street in June 2021. She reported it to the city, called her city council member and filled out an online form to complain.
“My pothole wasn’t a pothole. It was a road collapse,” Newman said.
A city worker came out and put a barricade in the hole but didn’t do anything to fix it. The hole sat there for weeks as people threw trash into it and weeds started to grow.
Months and months went by until finally she put a photo of the hole on a social media app. The city patched the problem in the second week of April.
“It is absolutely deplorable,” said Newman.
She points out that the city has never repaved her street since her father first purchased the home where she now lives. He bought the home in 1956.
The City of Tampa spends $5.4 million each year on repaving its nearly 3,000 miles of streets. According to the director of transportation, that allows the city to repave about 30 miles of streets each year.
The average street in Tampa, under the current budget, is only repaved once every 75 years.
“That’s not nearly enough. I mean our actual needs is at least eight times more to keep it to a normal 20 to 25-year cycle of repaving,” City of Tampa Director of Transportation Vic Bhide said.
Bhide hears from city residents all the time with complaints about street problems.
“Our number one complaint, and I know the community is aware of this, is the condition of our roads,” said Bhide.
He says the majority of roads and streets in Tampa rate from fair to poor on an accepted standard.
“It takes a very long time for a street, a recently-paved street, to go from good to fair condition,” Bhide said. “But it takes much less time to go from fair to poor.”
The transportation director also points out that it becomes more expensive to repair a street once its condition deteriorates to poor.
“So we have less time than we think to fix this problem,” he said.
Bhide is hoping Hillsborough County voters will approve the new version of the transportation tax when it comes to a vote to put more money into the city repaving program.
“So we are at $5.4 million a year right now. We need to be at about $41 million a year,” he explained.
He says the transportation tax will allow the city to meet that goal.