Cincinnati DOTE says city needs $1B to repair infrastructure

Updated Oct 18, 2018

Cracked asphalt with white paint stripeAccording to the Cincinnati Department of Transportation and Engineering’s (DOTE) 2017 Infrastructure Condition Reports Summary, Cincinnati will need $1 billion to bring its aging infrastructure up to good condition, and that doesn’t include the $330 million needed to replace the Western Hills Viaduct, WCPO reports.

The annual report, catalogs the condition of roads, bridges, sidewalks, retaining walls, stairways, and traffic signals within Cincinnati’s city limits. The latest edition projects that the city is facing nearly $700 million to rehabilitate its streets alone, 56 percent of which require repair and improvement, and another $190 million in traffic signal and street light replacements.

“Although DOTE has worked diligently to balance its programs within budget targets, shrinking resources and rising costs have made this difficult to achieve,” acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney wrote in the report, according to the news agency, adding that the cost to repave 1 mile of a single lane road has risen more than 430 percent since 1987. “DOTE has been forced to cut some programs completely and is looking at staff reduction as employees retire.”

“Columbus has cut a considerable amount of money from our budget,” City Council member Greg Landsman, who heads up the council’s Major Projects and Smart Government Committee, told the news agency. “The legislature, the governor, they have cut tens of millions of dollars from our budget that we desperately need for these services.”

Landsman is calling for a “comprehensive performance and financial review” of the city’s infrastructure maintenance and capital finances. “That will provide transparency for folks to better understand what we’re capable of doing and what we’re not capable of doing,” he told the news agency. “The amount of work we’re not capable of doing is staggering.”

Duhaney said that the city administration hasn’t had an independent review of its infrastructure needs since 1987. “It may be time to re-convene a new commission to work with DOTE and the city’s other infrastructure asset management agencies to assess new funding strategies,” he wrote in the report, according to the news agency.