Indianapolis, Indiana – The City-County Council has given the green light to a $25 million fund allocated to the Department of Public Works (DPW) to refurbish residential streets across Indianapolis. This initiative will primarily address neighborhood streets, not the primary thoroughfares.
This funding, unanimously approved by the council, will be used to mend issues such as deteriorating roads and potholes, using surplus money from the previous year’s budget.
Council Vice President Zach Adamson emphasized the significance of this venture, stating, “Continued investments like this are a win for our constituents as it will not only beautify our neighborhoods, but it will improve the safety and quality of life for all residents.
This marks the third consecutive year the city has allocated funds to enhance residential streets. A study by the DPW in the prior year indicated that only an approximate 7% of these streets were in satisfactory condition. Councilor Dan Boots highlighted that the state of roads in District 3, which includes parts of the city’s northeast side and Castleton, is a frequent grievance among residents. Some roads in this district have remained untouched since as far back as the 1940s.
Councilor La Keisha Jackson, representing District 14, shared the emotional toll of witnessing deteriorating roads daily. She revealed, “When you go down a street every day that’s crumbling… that’s home for you and that’s what you see, you feel like there’s no way out or no hope.” Jackson frequently receives calls, emails, and even photographs showcasing the deplorable road conditions.
DPW Director Brandon Herget clarified that the source of the $25 million is a surplus from the current year’s DPW budget. “This isn’t just routine maintenance on the streets, this is a complete rebuild of these streets in these residential areas,” he remarked.
A 2019 study indicated that an annual $600 million would be needed to bring the city’s roads to an ideal state and maintain them. However, the city hasn’t been able to prioritize residential road investments as desired. Herget highlighted an issue with the state’s road funding formula, which allocates funds based on a road’s center line instead of lane miles. This has resulted in less available funding for neighborhood streets.
Still, as Councilor Boots commented, “This is kind of the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
It remains undetermined which streets in which districts will be prioritized for this funding. But Jackson emphasized that such an initiative was essential for the city, adding that taxpayers deserve to see their contributions reflected in their neighborhoods.
The DPW’s engineers will collaborate with councilors to identify the residential streets most in need of repair, taking into account the data they’ve collected regarding street conditions. The renovation work is slated to commence in the spring.