2016 Report: Local Roads Continue to Crumble
CSAC and several partners released the 2016 California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report (2016 Report) this week and it confirms that the local backbone of the statewide transportation system continues to decline. The report also indicates that waiting any longer to begin addressing the revenue shortfall will only add to the long-term costs. The full assessment can be found at www.SaveCaliforniaStreets.org.
“For the past eight years, local governments have been warning that the current funding system for local street and road maintenance is inadequate and we have billions of dollars in deferred maintenance,” said CSAC Executive Director Matt Cate. “This latest report proves that our poorly maintained roads are deteriorating faster and will cost more to fix in the long run. Fifty-two of 58 counties already have poor pavement condition or are at risk. The time to act is now. We have to increase funding and make commonsense reforms to maintain local streets and roads or we risk a collapse of our transportation system.”
CSAC and the League of California Cities collaborated on the assessment along with the state’s regional transportation planning agencies. Produced every other year since 2008, the 2016 Report surveyed California’s 58 counties and 482 cities and captured data from more than 99 percent of the state’s local streets and roads.
The 2016 Report indicates that, due to insufficient funding levels, statewide pavement conditions have declined to an average of 65 on a scale of 0 (failed) – 100 (excellent), putting them “at risk.” Any more delay to begin fixing and/or maintaining streets, roads, bridges, sidewalks, storm drains and traffic signs will likely double the cost of repairs in the future, and impede efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants.
Moreover, only six counties have pavement in “good” condition compared to 16 counties in 2008. Accordingly, the number of counties with pavement conditions in the “poor” or “at risk” category has grown from 42 in 2008 to 52 in 2016. In 10 years, it is projected that 22 percent of local streets and roads will be in failed condition.
Over the next decade, absent a significant new public investment, the 2016 Report found that the local system is facing a $73 billion funding shortfall to bring pavements into good condition, address deficient bridges, and fix essential components such as storm drains, sidewalks, and signage. It is estimated that $3.5 billion is needed annually just to maintain local streets and roads in their current condition; however, current funding lags behind at just $1.9 billion per year. To bring local streets and roads to optimal condition would take an estimated $7 billion annually.
The legislative special session on transportation remains in effect through the end of November and all of the components of a deal that would meet the revenue requirements and provide common sense assurances that the funds would be spent as intended have already been proposed in various pieces of legislation. CSAC is urging the Legislature to work together during the next month to negotiate and pass a bipartisan agreement on transportation funding and send it to the Governor.
League of California Cities’ Deputy Executive Director Dan Carrigg said that the report is a stark reminder of what is at stake. “It is alarming to see how the rate of deterioration is increasing. That is not good for our economy or future quality of life. We cannot afford to avoid properly repairing and maintaining our transportation system any longer. Legislators understand the problem and have some thoughtful proposals on the table. Now we need to finish the job.”