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Bloomberg’s 1-Man Pothole Filling Machine Leaves A ‘Hole’ Lot Unanswered

Mayor Watches On Uneasily As New Initiative Fails To Get The Job Done
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Pothole machine

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan watch as NYC’s new one-man pothole filling machine debuts on March 19, 2012. (Photo: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg kicked off the city’s road paving season Monday by unveiling a new pothole filling machine. The problem is the debut was a dud, leaving a hole in the road and a hole in the mayor’s initiative.

Al D’Amato used to be known as “Senator Pothole,” but it may take a while for Bloomberg to earn the title “Mayor Pothole.”

In fact, some might say he had a hole in his head Monday for unveiling a new state-of-the-art one-man pothole filling machine on a Flushing, Queens street that couldn’t fill the entire gap in the road, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Yes, it spit out tar and tried to rake it into the crevice, but try as it might — and it tried mightily — there was still a large strip that remained unfilled.

The mayor, who watched the demonstration with Department of Transportation head Janette Sadik-Khan, tried to put the best face on it.

“As you can see it’s hard to operate,” Bloomberg said.

Then, under questioning from reporters, came a whole lot of excuses.

“These technologies are just starting to be developed and our experience with them is just starting,” Bloomberg said. “This guy’s only had a short period of time learn how to fill a pothole.”

And here’s the best one, not as good as the dog ate my homework, but close.

“Normally this would be used in the middle of a big road,” Bloomberg said.

Is that because potholes don’t show up on the sides of roads?

Eventually, there was an admission about the machine, which allows one worker to do the job of five or six.

“What is clear is that a human being can do some things better sometimes than a machine,” Bloomberg said.

Officials bragged that this year they’ve been able to fill 34,000 potholes on the streets of Queens, where the new machine strutted its stuff. Given its problem Monday, maybe they should have said 33,999.

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