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Pothole problems- who is liable?

Pothole problems- who is liable?

CREATED May 3, 2012

Reporter: Stephani Ruiz

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -It happened back in January, but Jeanne Johnson says she still can't get that pothole out of her mind. And what's worse- the damage that came with it.

"I'm very angry," Johnson said.

 A nearly $700 mechanic bill, plus the towing to her there. After paying the bill, Johnson filed a complaint with the city to get her money back.

9OYS Reporter Stephani Ruiz asked Johnson how she paid for the damage in the first place.

"I had to take it out of my home equity because I'm on social security and I just don't have any money," Johnson said.

The city denied her claim and said it can't be held liable for a pothole that had never been reported before.

"So somebody else is supposed to hit the pothole before me and call the city up and tell them that its there," Johnson said.

We took these concerns to City Department of Transportation's Michael Graham, who said situations like this highlight a much larger problem for the city.

"We know we have some deficiencies out there. A lot of our streets have not been maintained. There are streets that are 30-40 years old," Graham said.

The city asks people of Tucson to be their eyes and ears around town- reporting potholes or other damages. But what about city workers who drive down those streets every day?

"I'm not saying that we rely on the citizens of the community to let us know. Our workers are out there, when they see them they can call in those claims," Graham said.

Claims that can pile up, posing another problem- money.

The city is working with the mayor and council on short term and long term plans to fund Tucson's pothole problem.

If you have a claim to report, call the city's risk manager at 837-4388 and request a claim form.