Westfield Needs More Paving

Grove_Street_Picture_1.jpg

One of the greatest concerns raised by Ward 3 residents with whom I’ve spoken is the poor state of Ward 3 roads. Residents are dissatisfied that the roads they have to drive on every day are filled with potholes and bumps (the attached photo of Grove Street is a good example), even though their taxes continue to go up.

The government of Westfield hasn’t invested sufficiently in maintaining Westfield’s roads. From 2011-2017, the percentage of roads fully resurfaced has averaged 1% (calculated from data available on the town’s website[1]) — far below the 5% level that experts recommend since asphalt roads generally last 20 years[2]. And only 4% of roads have been partially or fully resurfaced in this time frame — also significantly below that same 5%.

Poor roads do more than cause a bumpy ride. They can cost you money out of your pocket, too. A 2015 US Department of Transportation study estimated that bad roads in the state of NJ cost the average driver $601 in repair costs[3]*. Also, poor roads make Westfield look unattractive to visitors and future residents.

The process of determining which roads to pave in Westfield also needs improvement. The reason -- roads in major disrepair in Ward 3 like Grove Street aren’t getting paved while others are. Also, Ward 3 residents have told me that Westfield has chosen their road to be repaved because they filed a petition and screamed loudly – which doesn’t seem like the best way to make long-term investment decisions like road paving.

I know Westfield can do better when it comes to paving. If elected as the Ward 3 Councilman, I will push to prioritize paving when the 2018 municipal budget is being developed and advocate that the government target paving at least 5% of Westfield’s roads in full. To pay for this, I’ll help scrutinize every line item in the budget (like I’ve done throughout my career where I’ve managed multi-million dollar budgets), eliminate wasteful expenditures and push for more cost-effective approaches to delivering town services.

I’ll also advocate that Westfield redirect some of the existing $12.5mm surplus to fund road improvements. Certainly, a rainy-day fund is critical in our town—just as it is in home finances—but it doesn’t need to be this large. Some of the surplus should be used to upgrade our roads which are an essential part of our quality of life in Westfield. I’ll also make sure that the government aggressively pursue every grant program available at the county, state and national level for infrastructure improvement. Lastly, I’ll advocate that Westfield review its process to determine which roads get paved and make sure that need is the most important criteria so the town repaves streets in the worst condition first.

Working together, we can make Westfield better. Let me know what you think. Feel free to email me at david@contractforwestfield.com or PM me on Facebook at facebook.com/contractforwestfield. And remember to vote Contract for Council for Ward 3 on November 7.



[1] http://www.westfieldnj.gov/index.asp?SEC=FD7F4613-3227-4CE3-9CF1-EF1BD5EBF2E9

[2] http://www.engineering.com/Ask@/qactid/1/qaqid/4074.aspx

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