Why California can’t afford more delay on roads

california-budget-transportation-mc2Local governments and organizations like SCPFJ have spent the last two years sounding the alarm about California’s crumbling transportation network and educating policymakers about the poor condition of our streets and highways and the cost to fix them. Unfortunately, California still does not have a solution to provide the funding needed to maintain our critical transportation network in the condition that residents, visitors and businesses deserve, and that moving goods and people throughout the state requires.

This Sacramento Bee opinion piece explains why California can’t afford any more delays:

“The governor and lawmakers promised to address transportation funding early in the new legislative session. We expect them to keep that promise, and we remain hopeful that they will.

We have eight years of research that shows the continual decline of our local road system. The backlog of deferred maintenance has become critical. Many roads are past the point of simple maintenance and need to be completely replaced at about ten times the cost. This is about more than just potholes. Californians are subjected to some of the worst infrastructure conditions in the nation. Pavement with chunks of asphalt missing is unsafe, punishing to vehicles and increases smog emissions.

Current revenue simply has not kept pace with the need. The state highway system and local road system both have backlogs estimated at more than $70 billion over the next decade.

While more counties and cities are supporting local measures to fund their streets and roads, it is not enough. Between increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles, lower gas prices and a gas tax that hasn’t changed since 1994, local governments have just half as much funding to maintain their streets and roads as they did a generation ago, even before adjusting for inflation.

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders have been working on legislation that includes modest increases to existing revenue sources and some commonsense reforms that can streamline the project approval process. We commend our champions in the Legislature, especially Sen. Jim Beall, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Assemblyman Jim Frazier, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

However, we cannot afford any more distractions or delays in passing legislation for transportation investment and reform. The governor and legislative leaders must keep their promise to help local governments and the state invest in fixing our roads. Anything less will put our residents at risk and cost millions more in the long run.”

Source: Sacramento Bee

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