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Grand Jury Says Mayor, City Council Must Commit To Improving Roads

Mayor Jerry Sanders and the City Council need to make a formal commitment to improve the condition of San Diego's streets, according to San Diego County Grand Jury findings released today.

Primo Vannicelli fixes a pothole in Hillcrest, San Diego, CA on Nov. 19, 2010. Photo courtesy of voiceofsandiego.org.
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Above: Primo Vannicelli fixes a pothole in Hillcrest, San Diego, CA on Nov. 19, 2010. Photo courtesy of voiceofsandiego.org.

The grand jury noted that only 10 percent of major streets in San Diego were rated to be in good condition. A recent study based on a national benchmark called the Overall Condition Index, or OCI, gave San Diego's roadways a 54.6 percent rating in 2011, down more than 8 percent in four years. A rating of 75 percent is considered the industry standard.

The jurors said providing enough funds to maintain the status quo condition of the roadways in the fiscal year beginning July 1 "will only perpetuate today's problems.''

The mayor's budget proposal calls for about $38 million to go toward street repairs. The city's Independent Budget Analyst has determined that spending $34.1 million would maintain the current street conditions.

Alex Roth, a spokesman for Sanders, said the city has spent an unprecedented amount of money on road repairs in recent years.

"Sadly, the grand jury report fails to mention this historic financial commitment,'' Roth said. "We do agree with the grand jury that repairing San Diego's streets is vitally important to our citizens' quality of life, which is why we will continue our aggressive work in this area.''

The grand jury recommended that Sanders develop a resolution stating that he and the City Council are committed to upgrading operations, maintenance and capital improvements for all of San Diego's streets and that city officials commit to reaching an OCI of 75 percent.

The panel further recommended that the mayor and city council continue to streamline the capital improvement process; clarify the city's ordinance that deals with excavations; and assess all of the city's roadways every four years; and that the city place a five-year maintenance plan online and update it weekly.

The city has 90 days to respond to the report.

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