Milwaukee's mayor says YOU can help with city's pothole problem

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- This winter has been, and continues to be extremely rough on Milwaukee's roads. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wants drivers to know he's listening - and he's taking steps toward fixing problems with the roads.

Driving or riding on Milwaukee-area streets is like being on a carnival ride - or worse! As winter drags on, the potholes are getting deeper and the frost heaves caused by ice below the pavement are getting higher.

The freeze-thaw conditions we've seen this winter are the main culprit for the terrible roads.

"From the beginning of the year through (Monday, February 17th) we have received 1,251 pothole location requests," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said on Tuesday.

That's slightly higher than last year.

Road crews are patching the potholes using cold mix asphalt - the only product that can be used during the winter, but Mayor Barrett says it doesn't stick as well as the hot mix.

The city is putting about $17 million into the roads this year.

"The wheel tax is being used to improve the streets, there's no question about that - but it's being used to improve the streets at the same time the state is cutting back on dollars for local streets," Mayor Barrett said.

Mayor Barrett wants the state to use about $17 million of its $84.6 million transportation surplus for an emergency local road improvement initiative.

Gov. Walker said last week that more money is coming.

"In the budget, we included a four-percent increase for local road aid - so the city of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, and other local communities across the state are getting more," Gov. Walker said.

Mayor Barrett says the problem is the increase Gov. Walker refers to comes in the 2015 budget and with a decrease in state aid last year, it will still leave the city below its 2012 funding level.

"After this winter, every community in the state of Wisconsin will be facing a pothole problem, a poor road condition problem and a financial squeeze," Mayor Barrett said.

Mayor Barrett focused on what he'd like to see the Legislature do, but also on what you can do. When you see potholes or rough road conditions, report them by calling 414-286-CITY.

Mayor Barrett says so far, 93 percent of reported potholes are repaired in three days.