Kalamazoo couple win $500 for car repairs in the Pothole Pocketbook Contest
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
KALAMAZOO, MI -- A couple who say they shelled out more than $700 for car repairs caused by a pothole will recoup most of that after winning a new Pothole Pocketbook Contest.
Kalamazoo residents Michael and Nicole VanPutten will receive $500 from the Michigan Transportation Team for damage to their 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen caused by a pothole. They are the first of four winners in the contest by the Michigan Transportation Team, a partnership of business, labor, government and other organizations promoting investments to improve Michigan roads.
Michael VanPutten was driving west on I-94 near the Kalamazoo Business Loop at 70 mph earlier this month when his car hit a pothole about 4 feet wide and nearly a foot deep, according to an entry in the Pothole Pocketbook Contest by his wife.
“It was unavoidable,” VanPutten said. “That was by far the biggest pothole that I have seen.”
The impact bent the rim of one of his tires and VanPutten said that when he exited the interstate he could smell rubber burning. He had to spend more than $700 on repairs to the car, which was in the shop for two days, he said.
“This was the first repair I’ve had to do like that,” VanPutten said. “The time out of your day, the extra expense -- you wish it just wouldn’t have been there.”
The VanPuttens are the first of four weekly winners to be drawn through April 5 in the Pocketbook Pothole Contest, according to a news release by the Michigan Transportation Team.
Mike Nystrom, executive vice president of Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association and co-chair of the MTT, said the group is glad to help defray the cost of damage inflicted by Michigan’s roads on four motorists but that the contest has a larger agenda as well.
“It is doing what we hoped it would in highlighting the need we have with our transportation funding dilemma,” Nystrom said. “We will do it again if the Legislature does not find a solution.”
The Pothole Pocketbook Contest is open to drivers age 18 and older with a Michigan license. To enter, visit justifixtheroads.com, fill out the form and attach a copy of your pothole-related repair bill. Submissions with good explanations or pictures get an extra nod in the sampling pool, Nystrom said.
Winners drawn at random will receive a check for the cost of the repair or $500. The next winner will be announced March 25.