New Report Finds that “Delaying Investments Only Escalates the Costs and Risks of an Aging Infrastructure”

American Society for Civil Engineers “2017 Infrastructure Report Card” echoes previous reports that give CA’s transportation network a failing grade.


For Immediate Release: March 9, 2017

Sacramento –Upon the news that yet another report is out today underscoring the cost to every California motorists for our crumbling roads and bridges, the Fix Our Roads coalition, a coalition of local governments, business, labor, transit and transportation advocates, issued the following statement. The comment was in reaction to a new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), “2017 Report Card,” which found that “delaying investments only escalates the costs and risks of an aging infrastructure” in California. The ASCE report concluded that driving on bad roads costs the average motorist $844 per year in maintenance.

“For too long California has underinvested in its transportation network, costing taxpayers more for emergency repairs, costing drivers more money in car maintenance and jeopardizing public safety. We’ve got to make a change and raise new revenues for transportation funding, and ensure that money is spent responsibly. SB 1 raises new revenues that will help maintain our roads and bridges and begin to make a dent in the $130 billion backlog of needed repairs. At the same time, strong accountability provisions will ensure efficient use of the funds. April 6 is the deadline. It’s time to get this done.”

The report out today from the ASCE identified key problems with California’s transportation network:

  • “For example, driving on roads in need of repair in California costs each driver $844 per year”
  • “5.5% of bridges are rated structurally deficient”
  • “195,834 miles of public roads, with 50% in poor condition”

ASCE concluded its California summary by saying: “…some specific steps must be taken, beginning with increased, long-term, consistent investment.”

This new condemnation of California’s infrastructure follows a report issued last month from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARBTA) which evaluated the nation’s bridges and found that more than 1,300 California bridges are structurally deficient. According to the study, “out of the 25,431 bridges in California, 1,388, or 5%, are classified as structurally deficient. This means one or more of the key bridge elements, such as the deck, superstructure or substructure, is considered to be in “poor” or worse condition.

Background:

The Fix Our Roads Coalition believes a package must include at least $6 billion in new revenues annually to prevent the further deterioration of our local streets and roads and to make a dent in the overwhelming transportation improvement backlog. Additionally, the package needs strong accountability provisions to ensure the money goes to transportation purposes and is responsibly spent. Consider:

  • There is a backlog of $130 billion in needed repairs ($59 billion state highways; $73 billion local streets and roads).
  • CA drivers are paying $53.6 billion annually in additional car repairs, congestion delays and traffic crashes due to poorly maintained roads. That’s an average cost of $2,826 per driver. (National Transportation Research Group-TRIP, 8/16)
  • Car repairs alone cost drivers in California an average of $762 annually due to pothole-filled roads. (TRIP, 7/15)
    • Regionally, the annual cost is higher: San Francisco/Oakland-$978; Los Angeles/Orange Counties-$892; San Jose-$863; San Diego-$722 (TRIP, 11/16)
  • Ten of California’s urban centers have pavement conditions that rank among the nation’s most deteriorated including the top three in the nation: San Francisco/Oakland; Los Angeles/Orange Counties; and San Jose. (TRIP, 11/16)
  • It costs eight times more to fix a road than to maintain it. Preventive care cost: $115,000/mile. Rehabilitative care cost: $894,000/mile. (CalTrans State of the Pavement report 2015)
  • A total of 25 percent of California bridges show significant deterioration and need to be repaired or replaced. (TRIP, 8/16)
  • On a scale of zero (failed) to 100 (excellent), the statewide average Pavement Condition Index (PCI) has deteriorated to 65 (“at risk” category) in 2016. (California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment, 10/16)
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that for every $1 spent on road, highway and bridge improvements there is an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, and reduced maintenance costs.