Budget Cuts Lead to No Road Paving, Possible Injuries

Our Portland personal injury lawyers may be in for a busier year than usual in 2012. Bumpy roads lead to increased accidents—fact—for both cyclists and motorists, and it’s up to the city to provide safe thoroughfares for the people using them. The latest round of budget cuts, however, would appear to indicate that Portland road users are in for an exceptionally bumpy ride.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation recently announced huge budget cuts on Portland repaving projects. A total of $16 million has been slashed from budget funds that were to be used for repaving pothole-riddled Portland streets. The first “savings” for the PBOT total $4.4 million in 2012, and a grand total of $22 million in overall cuts over the next five years. As

Budget Cuts Haven’t Been This Bad Before

While there have been budget cuts in the past, the sheer size and scale of these cutbacks has come as something of a shock. “It hasn’t been to this magnitude,” said Tom Miller, PBOT director, speaking of previous budget cuts. For example, in the 2011 fiscal year, the PBOT cut $1 million from its funding of major road projects done by outside contractors, like the Sandy Boulevard overhaul.

Portland personal injury lawyers are worried, however, that the condition of Portland’s streets and major roads is deteriorating to a dangerous extent. They point out that residential roads haven’t been repaved since 2009, and each year, budget cuts have been the reason given for not carrying out the work. Lower than expected revenues and money allocated to other long term capital projects have made the cuts necessary, according to the PBOT.

Long Term, This Won’t Save Money

For 2012, the only thing drivers, cyclists and even pedestrians can hope for is the continuation of the existing policy whereby potholes are filled in and “patched,” and some small stretches of very bad roads might get an upgrade by way of having cracks sealed.

The sad thing is that the city may not actually be saving money by putting off road repairs. As well as leaving itself open to claims from people who have been injured because of poorly maintained roads, there’s the obvious matter that the roads will have to be repaved at some stage in the future. John Rist, a budget official with PBOT, says the long-term financial effects could be much worse. “Over time it will become more expensive to repair the roads,” he admitted.

Portland Personal Injury Lawyers Worry about the Hazards of Unpaved Roads

These proposed cuts haven’t been approved yet. They are simply draft proposals, and the final budget isn’t due before Mayor Sam Adams until January 30. Sadly, the road repair cutbacks aren’t the only proposed cuts in the draft plan. Other services facing a reduction in funding include street cleaning, which may be done less frequently under one proposal, and streetcar services, which may also be curtailed.

It would appear that there’s little the average citizen can do to prevent the forthcoming budget cuts. Portland’s residential roads are facing into a fourth year without repaving, with no timetable proposed as to when the necessary repairs might be carried out. The sad fact is, however, that these savings may, in the medium to long term, end up costing the city far more than the money they’re hoping to save by putting off resurfacing work. Throw in the potential for cyclists to be injured by crashing into potholes at night, or cars going out of control because of horrible road conditions throughout the city, and these budget cuts increasingly look questionable.

We urge all those who use Portland’s roads to do so safely, and stay alert for all potential hazards. And if you are injured through someone else’s (or the City’s) negligence, then the first thing you should do after getting the medical help you need is to contact a team of Portland personal injury lawyers, who will help you get the compensation you need and deserve.