The 2016 California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report
(2016 Report) released today once again confirms the deteriorating condition of the city street and county road system that makes up more than 80 percent of California’s roadways and is the backbone of the statewide transportation system. The full assessment can be found at www.SaveCaliforniaStreets.org
The 2016 Report confirms pavement conditions continue to decline due to insufficient funding levels to properly fix and/or maintain streets, roads, bridges, sidewalks, storm drains and traffic signs. Deferring this crucial work, however, is not an acceptable response; inaction will likely double the cost of repairs in the future, and impede efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants.
The California State Association of Counties®
(CSAC) and the League of California Cities®
(League) 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 underscores how critically important it is that California develop a transportation funding solution. On a scale of zero (failed) to 100 (excellent), the average pavement condition of local roads is a 65 or an “at risk” condition. 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.
Because the funding crisis is so great, many local jurisdictions are passing local revenue measures to support their local streets and roads. There are more than a dozen such measures on this November’s ballot. However, these local taxes are not enough and must be matched by a new robust state investment in the entire road and highway system.
California State Association of Counties Executive Director Matt Cate said reduced funding has led to a backlog of deferred maintenance. “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.” Cate also stated that “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.”
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.”
Visitors to www.SaveCaliforniaStreets.org
will find an interactive map showing the street and road condition for every California county and city.
Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials.