CSAC Bulletin Article

CSAC Releases New Analysis of Local Transportation Funding Needs
Webinar recording also available

August 19, 2021

CSAC and the League of California Cities (Cal Cities) shared the results of our 2020 California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report (Needs Assessment) in a webinar on  Wednesday, August 25 at 10 a.m. The Needs Assessment is a comprehensive analysis of California’s local roads and bridges—including essential components like sidewalks, bike lanes, signals, and storm drains.

View webinar recording here.

The Needs Assessment has taken on newfound importance as Congress works to finalize a much-needed bipartisan infrastructure bill. The report focuses on the condition of California’s transportation infrastructure, the impacts of SB 1, and the ongoing funding needs of the local street, roads, and bridges—information that will be vital for counties and cities to successfully advocate for a fair share of any new federal resources.

Cities and counties have already completed thousands of maintenance, rehabilitation, safety, and active transportation projects in our local communities using funding from SB 1 (Beall, 2017). This report is the first to comprehensively analyze the impacts of SB 1 on local streets and roads. Key findings include:

  • Increased funding from SB 1 led to the first statewide improvement in local pavement conditions since 2008.
  • Using the 100-point “Pavement Condition Index” (PCI), the quality of our city and county roadways statewide improved from 65 in 2018 to 66 in 2020. Local road conditions had been on a downward trajectory in California since we began the statewide Needs Assessment in 2008.
  • Unfortunately, bid prices for some of the most common road repairs increased drastically from 2018 to 2020, dampening the impacts of new funding.
  • Local agencies own 12,339 bridges—nearly half of all bridges in California. 4,401 local bridges need to be repaired and 451 are so deteriorated that they need to be replaced.
  • Dedicated funding for local bridges has stagnated at $300 million since 2009, but $800 million annually is needed just to prevent further decay.

Accordingly, CSAC and Cal Cities recommend maintaining current fix-it-first investments in local streets and roads. We also urge policymakers to increase dedicated funding for local bridges. Pending federal infrastructure legislation provides an excellent opportunity to repair and replace crumbling local bridges.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, cities and counties representing over 99% of local roadway mileage completed the 2020 Needs Assessment Survey. Our next survey in early 2022 will provide additional insight on bid prices, the effects of the pandemic, and the impacts of ongoing SB 1 revenues.

The 2020 Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report and supporting documents are available online at www.savecaliforniastreets.org.

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