At-Risk Streets

By: 
Jim Hines

Long Beach streets were ranked up there as worst in nation in 2015; average LB motorist reportedly spent up to $1,000 per year because of vehicle deterioration and depreciation, increased maintenance, fuel consumption, tire wear, etc. Street liability was and still is over $500M. LB Public Works’ street assessment in 2017 identified the main cost factor is number of very poor streets are increasing. In FY 2015 poor streets represented 20 percent with an estimated reconstruction cost of $205M; but in 2017 poor streets increased to 22 percent with an estimated reconstruction cost of $309M. That is an increase of over $100M every two years. Public Works continues to claim that $50+M per year investment is needed over the next 10 years to get to a “good” overall street rating. Why then is the city only budgeting enough for maintaining our streets at a fair/at-risk condition (rating), i.e. or having progressive cracking, localized distress and some base failures?

Reportedly, passage of Measure A in 2016 allowed the city to invest in needed repair and maintenance of all our eligible streets, reducing further decline. However, the city has budgeted and projects to budget only ~$30 – 35M / year. This year, City Council approved ~$35M, 30 percent less than required. LB residents are paying increased taxes from Measure A, but also LA County Measure M, California state gas tax, etc. but still street budgets are not at the level required.

City officials are now warning residents that, if voters do not approve an extension of Measure A in the next election, streets will become even worse. The fact is, only 10 percent of Measure A total revenues went to improving our streets this year, and only four percent last year. Back in FY 2017 when Measure A was passed, 46 percent of its revenue went toward streets? Interestingly, City officials don’t plan to perform the next street assessments until 2020 for arterial streets and 2022 for residential streets well after a Measure A extension vote. Overall our streets are remaining in a fair/at-risk condition because of inadequate city budgeting, not because residents are not being taxed enough.

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Comments

Plus wasting the money they already spend with poor or incomplete construction plans plus road diet nonsense, then spending maintenance funds to correct construction errors..."off the books" after the project funding is closed.

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