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Supervisors Urge Governor, State Officials to Maintain Funding for Local Roads

The Board of Supervisors sends letters after the release of a statewide road assessment

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has joined a growing, statewide chorus of city and county officials urging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other state leaders to make sure existing gasoline sales taxes and other local roadway funding stays in the county.

Chairwoman Janet Wolf of the Second District recently signed letters on behalf of the full board that were sent to the governor and to the county’s state Assembly and Senate representatives urging them to continue funding for local roads and to help provide additional funding to protect the public roadway transportation system.

The board’s action comes after the release of a recent statewide assessment of California’s roads, which found that conditions on local roadways are deteriorating throughout the state. Collectively, the report characterized the average condition of California’s roads as being “at risk” of becoming even worse during the next 10 years, especially if existing local funding is pulled and a $71 billion backlog in roadway repairs also is not adequately funded by the state.

Existing state funding and gasoline sales taxes allow cities and counties to “tread water when it comes to roadway projects, but they cannot even make a dent in the $71 billion for backlogged projects,” Santa Barbara County Public Works Director Scott McGolpin said. “Roads have never been fully funded by the state to address our transportation needs and, year after year, our transportation infrastructure continues to deteriorate.”

Click here to view the California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Need Assessment report, the first of its kind in more than a decade. The report concluded that statewide today, California’s cities and counties need an additional $71 billion, or about $7 billion per year for the next 10 years, to bring all roads back into good condition. The report noted that cities and counties own and are responsible for maintaining 81 percent of all roads and streets in the state.

The $71 billion price tag is likely to soar even higher if state leaders take away existing local roadway funds and gasoline sales tax revenues to help balance the state’s burgeoning budget deficit, estimated to be about $20 billion for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Numerous cities and counties throughout the state have heeded the call by the California State Association of Counties, the League of California Cities and the County Engineers Association of California to educate and inform the public and state leaders about the situation.

Click here to view a public service announcement about the importance of roadway funding for local streets and roads.

— William Boyer is the communications director for Santa Barbara County.


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