Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Study: Local Roads in California 'At Risk' Due to Lack of Funding

A coalition of local governmental agencies and advocates released their 2016 report on the condition of local streets and roads in California, and they found dire underinvestment. The legislature has yet to convene a special session on funding.
October 27, 2016, 12pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

"California’s 143,000 miles of local streets and roads are deteriorating rapidly, and the average local thoroughfare across the state is rated 'at risk' because of its poor physical condition, according to a study commissioned by a coalition of local governments and their allies," reports John Howard, editor of Capitol Weekly.

Serious underinvestment

A mix of state, local and federal funds – about $1.98 billion annually – is provided for California’s streets and roads, but the minimal amount needed to maintain the existing quality is $3.5 billion, according to the study. To fix the roads to an optimum level of repair and maintenance would cost about $70 billion or more over the next 10 years, the report says.

"This study was sponsored by the cities and counties of California and managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)," states the executive summary of the 2016 California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment. The report has been release biennially since 2008. Click here for the members of the oversight committee which included many representatives from city and county public works departments.

Local streets and roads compose over 80 percent of the state's road network


Breakdown of Road Centerline Miles by Agency. Credit: Save California Streets

Funding Sources

The report includes a section (4: pg. 42) that lists all federal, state and local pavement revenue sources. Notably absent under the latter are gas taxes, unlike cities and counties in some other states, such as Florida and Oregon. Nonetheless, the list is helpful due to its comprehensiveness. 


"The conclusions from this study are inescapable," states the report.

Given existing funding levels available to cities and counties, California’s local streets and roads will continue to deteriorate over the next 10 years. It is alarming that local streets and roads have decayed to the point that funding will need to almost double just to maintain current conditions.

To address the funding shortfall, "Gov. Brown called for the session on July 16 [2015] but lawmakers never convened," adds Howard. The deadline for that session is Nov. 30. 

To download the 223-page report [PDF], click here.

Also on Planetizen:

Hat tip MTC News Headlines.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 in Capitol Weekly
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email