Kansas City mayor creates ‘Pothole Czar’ position to fix crumbling roads

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s an issue with which many Kansas Citians are well-traveled: bad roads.

During his State of the City address, Kansas City Mayor Lucas said he wants to make infrastructure a top budget priority for 2020. To do so, he has created a “Pothole Czar.”

“To help us address our problems and implement actual solutions, I have asked Acting City Manager Earnest Rouse to appoint a position I have dubbed the ‘Pothole Czar,'” Lucas said in his speech. “We’re not doing enough preventative maintenance to stop problems before they get bad enough to require emergency repairs.”

The position will be responsible for better prioritizing road projects, coordinating between departments, decreasing response time to public reports and reporting to City Council on a regular basis.

In 2017, Mayor Sly James pushed for an $800-million general obligation bond over 20 years to help fund road repairs. That bond passed, and Lucas said a one-cent sales tax that was renewed in 2018 has provided another $70 million.

Lucas said part of his budget will include increasing the street resurfacing fund to $17 million, which he said is 70% more than it was two years ago.

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