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Economy

San Diego County Roads, Bridges Need Billions In Repairs

W. Laurel Street in San Diego taken on May 26, 2014
Richard O. Barry
W. Laurel Street in San Diego taken on May 26, 2014

The amount of money needed to bring roads up to par in the San Diego region over the next decade is the second-highest total of any county in the state, according to a report released Tuesday.

The "California Local Streets & Roads Needs Assessment 2014 Update" estimates that $7.2 billion is required for road and bridge repair in San Diego County over the next 10 years.

Only Los Angeles County, at $19 billion, has a higher estimated cost.

The biennial report — a collaboration between the California State Association of Counties, the League of California Cities and the state's regional transportation planning agencies — found that pavement conditions statewide are declining, and current funding levels are insufficient to properly fix or maintain streets, roads, bridges, sidewalks, storm drains and traffic signs.

"The state gas tax is only worth half of its value compared to when it was last increased in 1994," said Matt Cate, the executive director of the counties association. "While revenues are decreasing, cities and counties are doing more with less, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building sustainable communities, both of which rely on a functioning local transportation network. It is no wonder that funding is woefully inadequate."

He said it's "time to get serious about a more stable funding source for local streets, roads and bridges so we can begin to catch up on a backlog of work that should have been completed long ago."

The report predicts that further deferrals in completing the work could double the cost of repairs in the future. The condition of roadway pavement in San Diego County was rated in the study as a 66, which falls in the "at risk" category and matches the state's overall rating.

The pavement conditions of 10 counties were described in the report as poor. All 10 are in Northern California.

Nearly $7.3 billion in annual statewide spending is needed to fix California's roads and bridges, according to the report.

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