Somewhere out there, there’s a pothole with your name on it. (Photo Credit: bluepoint951/Flickr)
If on your way to work this morning you endured tire abuse in the form of potholes, you’re not alone. Of the cities with the worst roads in the nation, seven of the top 20 are right here in California. These pavement divots cost the average Californian an additional $800 on average every single year in car costs. But one city is looking to change that.
Los Angeles, ranked at the absolute top of the list, has a 60-year backlog on road repairs, but a new bond being posed by L.A. City Council members Joe Buscaino and Mitch Englander seeks to take a chunk out of that. The bond would help repave 8,700 miles of streets in Los Angeles with $3 billion.
“I’m fully supportive of what they’re doing and I’m trying to be best the best partner I can,” councilmember Bob Blumenfield told the California Economic Summit. “The logic is we are in desperate need of infrastructure investment. We’re living with the infrastructure of the 1950s and 1960s. The system is antiquated, and the most logical thing to do is to bond.”
California desperately needs new funding for its roads, Los Angeles in particular. L.A. roads are ranked as the nation’s most deteriorated, and it’s only set to get worse. According to Tripnet, the national transportation research group, there’s a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, a major source of transportation funding in California.
“In the fall of 2014, nationwide federal funding for highways is expected to be cut back by almost 100 percent from the current $40 billion investment level unless additional revenues are provided to the federal Highway Trust Fund,” the report says.
Currently, 68 percent of California’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition, so it’s no wonder why that contributes to California motorists having to deal with $14 billion a year in repairs for their vehicles.
And if not having to pour money into cars damaged by roads that are falling apart isn’t enough of a reason to invest more money in our state’s infrastructure, the jobs that come with the repairs should be.
According to a 2007 analysis from the Federal Highway Administration, “every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.”
This makes for something of a dual economic benefit: better roads and more jobs. The California Economic Summit has targeted infrastructure investment as one of our key priorities. Outside-the-box thinking on funding for our roads and bridges will be critical for California’s future, unless we want our roads to take out a bigger bite out of our tires and economy.