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New York State Puts Brakes On Pothole-Damage Reimbursements

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MELVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York state won’t pick up the tab for any cars damaged on its pothole-filled highways this winter.

As TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported, state lawmakers exempted the state from having to pay drivers back for pothole-related repairs during winter months.

Some towns say they’ll look into reimbursements, but drivers will likely have to jump through bureaucratic hoops.

A large numbers of craters have taken a toll on vehicles during a particular brutal winter.

At one Farmingdale, Long Island, tire shop, a mountain of mostly new tires lost to the winter’s potholes can be seen.

“Cracked rims, bent rims, shredded tires — these potholes did a number on the cars,” mechanic Brian Lorenzo described.

The cost for replacing each damaged car part can be substantial. Tommy Hammarth, a manger at Mavis Discount Tire, said repairing a rim can cost about $275 and replacing a rim is around $600.

A state Transportation Department spokeswoman told TV 10/55: “We sympathize with drivers, but New York state cannot be held liable for winter-related defects in the highway.”

Driver Eugue Wojciech said he was disgusted to learn the state won’t pay for his blown-out tire.

“It’s horrible,” he said. “They’re in charge of repairing and providing these types of services.”

Pothole damage caused on town roadways, however, might be reimbursable. Long Beach, Hempstead, Babylon, Islip and Oyster Bay will consider reimbursements if the pothole was previously reported to them and not repaired in timely manner — generally two or three days. Huntington, however, will not reimburse drivers, saying it follows state rules.

Motorists hoping to receive a town reimbursement should save their receipts and police reports, Rose reported.

Vanessa Guevara, who paid a nearly $600 bill after losing two tires and a rim to a pothole, said she’ll try to get a town refund.

“I mean, anything — even if it’s a discount — anything helps,” Guevara said.

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