Tucson may have found a new funding source to fill potholes

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Potholes and cracks are a common sight around Tucson.

“They're everywhere man,” said Greg Wright of Tucson. “From the south, west, east, north.”

“Well they're a nuisance, and as a driver I really hate going over them,” said Frank Hall of Tucson.

He hates going over them because a direct hit over one of these scars on the Tucson roadways could cost a driver up to $1,000 in damages, according to auto mechanic Pat Peters. “You can hit a pot hole hard enough to where you can actually cave the tire in to where it damages the hubcap or breaks the rim,” Peters said.

Sure it means business for him, but it's a business he says he could do without. “I would rather see the streets paved,” Peters said. “We have enough work as it is without getting help,”

Thanks to the national insurance company, The Hartford, Peters may very well get his wish.

“We're sharing with mayor and council the proposal that The Hartford company would like to make with respect to funding, providing the funding necessary to run three of my multipatchers all day,” said Tucson Transportation Director Jim Glock.

In other words, The Hartford wants to give Tucson $2,700, enough to pay for one day's worth of pot hole filling.

The catch?

“They want to have a placard on the side of it (the multipatcher machine) supporting a commercial interest,” Glock said

It's the first time an insurance company has approached the city for such an idea. Glock favors the plan considering the recession took $9 million out of his operating budget. “We're pretty much in a reactive mode,” Glock said.

People who deal with the potholes say they're fine with the plan as well. “It's just another way of advertising, and if that helps put some well-deserved potholes to rest, that will be great you know,” Frank Hall said.

Glock is just glad it's an understated form of advertising. “I understand in another jurisdiction in another state, it was Kentucky Fried Chicken that approached the jurisdiction,” Glock said. “And they would pay to fill pot holes and they would put a Kentucky Fried Chicken stencil on top of the patched pot hole.”

Meanwhile, Glock says he will present the plan to the mayor and council on Tuesday. He hopes they support the plan, and he says it could very well set precedent for how the city deals with similar requests in the future.