For Immediate ReleaseNovember 22, 2016
Despite priority funding from County, local roads need state and federal support
San Rafael, CA – The condition of Marin County’s roads is seen as a critical public safety issue, so much so that the Marin County Board of Supervisors has labeled road quality and traffic congestion as a top priority and increased funding for it during the current fiscal year.
However, a new state assessment of pavement conditions showed roads in unincorporated Marin have an average pavement condition index of 60 on a scale of zero (fail) to 100 (excellent). Although the County improved from 48 to 60 over the past eight years, its current rating is below the average statewide rating of 65.
Marin is supporting the efforts of the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), which is urging legislators to fund transportation upgrades through its Fix Our Roads Coalition. Two bills are on the table that would fund road quality improvements statewide. CSAC and the coalition said there is still time to strike a deal within the legislature’s Special Session on Transportation before it ends November 30.
Raul Rojas, Director of the Marin County Department of Public Works, said he hopes the local commitment to road condition improvement will soon be matched at the state and federal level.
“This situation poses serious safety hazards for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians,” Rojas said. “These roads are deteriorating at such a rate that, if left unchecked, it will cost us exponentially more in the long run. Our Board has placed a high priority on the condition of roads, but we can’t do it alone.”
In June, the Board committed an additional $1 million per year to its ongoing roads budget plus a one-time boost of $2 million, bringing the total allocation to $10.5 million for road improvement projects.
The biennial California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment, released October 25, showed that Marin needs to spend an estimated $458 million on roads over the next 10 years just to maintain their current condition.
The assessment confirmed that pavement conditions around the state are continuing to decline and that existing revenue does not provide enough funding to properly fix and maintain streets, roads, bridges, traffic signs and storm drains. The report notes that the average statewide conditions have deteriorated from 68 to 65 since the first survey eight years ago. This is considered an “at risk” level, and 52 of California’s 58 counties – including Marin – now fall into that window or below.
Within a decade, one-quarter of the local streets and roads statewide will have “poor” pavement condition and face an estimated $70 billion funding shortfall.
The funding commitments from the Marin County Board of Supervisors are going a long way toward maintaining the County’s road quality. Unfortunately due to the lack of funding from state and federal agencies, the County is faced with only maintaining its roads and not increasing their overall quality. In 2014, the Board initiated a $48 million, six-year Road and Bridge Rehabilitation Project to maintain the current road conditions and keep the deferred maintenance backlog from growing.
“There are plenty of projects we are eager to move forward on that will help maintain the reliability and safety of transportation in our county,” Rojas said. “But to ensure long-term quality improvement, more funding is needed. If we don’t address this situation now, the cost will only increase with time. State Legislature’s actions will greatly impact the future of our streets.”
A full copy of the report can be found at Save California Streets. For more information on the full report, please contact Rony Berdugo, League of California Cities (916-658-8283) or Kiana Valentine, California State Association of Counties (916-327-7500 x566).
Craig TackaberyChief Assistant DirectorDepartment of Public Works
3501 Civic Center Drive.San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6582Email: Craig TackaberyDPW website