The Miserable State of California's Roads

Sacramento Bee political columnist took three road trips through 17 states and has a few comments to make, along with some facts, about the condition of the Golden State's roads - in comparison to those he toured, and where the responsibility lies.

"California's gas tax, at 18 cents a gallon, is tied for dead-last (with Alabama) among the 17 states covered by those three road trips. The others range as high as 32.2 cents in West Virginia and 32.9 cents in Wisconsin.

California's gas tax hasn't been increased in more than a decade. Revenue is flat because as cars and trucks become more efficient, they use less fuel to travel a given distance. Moreover, that flat revenue is eroded even further by inflation.

The California Transportation Commission puts it this way: "The state's gas tax can now only cover between 50 and 60 percent of the annual rehabilitation need rapidly increasing the number of distressed lane miles on the system.

The Road Information Program, or TRIP, a Washington-based organization, says eight of the 20 major urban areas with the worst pavement conditions are in California. The Los Angeles area, with 65 percent in poor condition, is No. 1, followed by the Bay Area with 62 percent.

Bottom line: California roads are awful, they're getting worse, and there's an unspoken political conspiracy to block improvement. Conservative politicians oppose any new taxes, and liberals implicitly believe that intolerable roads will propel drivers into buses, trolleys and trains."

Thanks to The Roundup

Full Story: Dan Walters: State's terrible highways are getting worse


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