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Do Shreveport Mayoral Candidates Have A Plan to Improve the Road - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Do Shreveport Mayoral Candidates Have A Plan to Improve the Roads?

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTBS) -

The road to the mayor's office this fall could be a bumpy ride.

Too many shreveport streets are filled with potholes and crumbling asphalt.

"Sparks fly up from underneath peoples cars. I've seen a piece of vehicle get left in the street there," said Columbia Street resident Chip Lipsey.

"It's terrible, it's terrible. You go 1 mile and hour when you go through that. Or actually you try to find another way to get here," said Columbia Street resident Buddy Flett.

For the past month ktbs has explored this problem, how it's a headache for motorists and those who literally are out each day trying to sell our community to new residents and business prospects.

"When you go around town, we quite frankly probably have some of the worst roads in the south, maybe in the country," according to Scott Hughes of the Northwest Louisiana Association of Realtors.

But as we approach the November election for a new mayor, are any of the three candidates talking about a basic city hall responsibility... decent streets?

"Of course they are not the best roads as opposed to other cities and states," said Shreveport mayoral candidate Patrick Williams

"Generally yes, the roads in most areas really need some attention," said Shreveport mayoral candidate Ollie Tyler.

Former school superintendent Ollie Tyler and current State Representative Patrick Williams are two of three announced candidates to replace Cedric Glover, who is term limited, they at least would comment on the issue.

A third candidate, state rep. Roy Burrell, declined to sit down with ktbs, as did a fourth potential candidate, former mayor Keith Hightower, who has run opinion polls on his possible candidacy. Hightower simply said it isn't something he wants to discuss right now.

Unfortunately, for the voter looking for any sort of concrete - or asphalt - plan for fixing city streets, well that's also unavailable for inspection even from those willing to sit down with KTBS.

I asked each candidate what plans specifically they have to improve the roads in the city of shreveport.

RELATED STORY--SHREVEPORT: BAD ROADS, BAD IMAGE?-----

"We have to understand where are dollars are going now, first. We can't come in and say i'm going to do this until we know what dollars we have and allocate those to the best possible use," said Williams.

"I'd like to take a look at what has been done, what's on the books, what funding we have available, how we can secure more funding, to see how we can address that issue... That is a serious issue. I won't make promises about things that i don't have all the facts about yet, but i do know that that issue has to be addressed," said Tyler.

Williams does stress his architectural and engineering background. Tyler said part of her job as caddo parish superintendent was overseeing construction needs at more than 70 schools.

But beyond that, they have no specifics on a system that should be spending close to 13 million dollars each year, just to maintain the roads... But is only spending about 5 million each year on streets. In 2012, that yearly expenditure was closer to 1 million dollars.

We do have the newly implemented pavement management system which neither candidate is familiar with at this point in their campaign, the verdict is still out on how effective that program will be.

"We have to put in place a maintenance plan, period. I think it's a way of how to really take care of our roads. That's all citizens want, literally. They want safe streets, clean roads and good roads that they can drive on," said Williams

"I need to get the data on what's available in terms of funding, what the funding streams are. How we can work together with other people to make sure we address the issues," said Tyler.

It's also important to note that the council and mayor have been at loggerheads at various times, particularly in a 2012 debate on how to spend more than $5 million dollars in utility franchise fees from swepco. Shreveporters will also vote in November on who they want to represent them on the city council for the next four years.

 

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