Counties Ask State to Maintain Their Own Sidewalks

MACo’s Executive Director, Michael Sanderson, testified in support with amendments for HB 10, State Highway Administration – Sidewalks Within Priority Funding Areas – Repair and Maintenance, January 30, 2019.

This bill would extend the existing law, originally enacted by HB 786 of 2010, State Highway Administration – Sidewalk or Bicycle Pathway Construction in Priority Funding Areas. HB 786 required that the State Highway Administration take responsibility for building sidewalks adjacent to state roads in priority funding areas.

From the MACo testimony,

Statewide, road responsibility is generally understood by actors in public works. In the overwhelming share of cases, “numbered” roads are built and maintained by the State Highway Administration and the remainder are built and maintained by local governments. Recent legislation remedied a quirk in this clear understanding: where sidewalks are suitable for state roads in built-up areas, those sidewalks should be built by SHA, as they build the roadway itself. Aligning this responsibility makes sense, and HB 10 simply extends the same logic to their repair or maintenance. The entity that builds and maintain the roads, and manages its rights-of-way, is in the best posture to maintain sidewalks or other ancillary infrastructure.

An amendment could clarify that this duty should entail an effort to maintain the intended character of the sidewalks. In historic areas, or others where special surfaces were used originally, the repairs should maintain that intended character. MACo urges this clarification.

For more on 2019 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.