Local governments would no longer liable for damage done to vehicles by road defects, under legislation being considered at the Capitol. The proposal from state Representative Andre Jacque’s (R-Bellevue) would exempt local governments from having to pay for damage done to personal property that’s caused by defects on roadways, such as potholes.
Currently, drivers can file claims for up to $50,000 for damage done to their vehicle as a result of road defects. Jacque says those problems can pop up very quickly and local governments do try to address them as soon as they become aware of them. However, he says the money used defending against claims from vehicle owners could be better spent directly on repairing those roads.
The Bellevue Republican believes the change would also help save local governments more money by reducing insurance costs.
Similar versions of the bill have passed in previous sessions but were vetoed by then-Governor Jim Doyle after concerns were raised that it could give local governments an excuse not to repair damaged roads. Jacque says it’s unfair to suggest local governments are going to ignore their duty to provide proper infrastructure to residents.
The bill is still awaiting a public hearing.