More than $35 million will go toward maintaining Santa Barbara County’s transportation infrastructure over the next five years, courtesy of voter-approved Measure A funds.
The county Board of Supervisors heard an update on the maintenance-devoted pot of money this week, and unanimously certified and reaffirmed a five-year Program of Projects and looked at allocations for the 2015-16 fiscal year.
Measure A, approved by voters in November 2008 and in effect since April 2010, will provide a stable revenue stream to the region for the next 25 years, primarily for deferred maintenance, matching funds for capital improvements, and corrective maintenance.
Funding for such projects also comes from the state gas tax and the county general fund.
Roughly $3 million is spent annually on pavement preservation — much less than is needed to maintain the system, according to Chris Sneddon, deputy director of the county Public Works Department transportation division.
Under existing distributions, the South Coast would receive $18,275,000 in deferred maintenance dollars over the next five years, with North County seeing $16,958,000.
About 57 percent of the total amount would fund local roadwork, Sneddon said.
The only good news about the drought, he said, was the lack of rain helping roads hold together better.
Likewise, the aftermath of the latest recession has brought a silver lining: the cost to maintain roads today isn’t as high as what was predicted a decade ago.
Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino was interested in the technology and whatever could be driving the cost down.
Cost-effective treatments such as grinding up existing road material to be mixed and used with new asphalt was one method Sneddon mentioned, which helps extend road treatment life by 10 years.
The difference between corrective, deferred and preventative maintenance gave Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam trouble. He asked Sneddon to explain the county’s definition, and suggested departments use the terms consistently and explain how they choose which projects to pursue.
Corrective is maintenance performed on potholes, fixing a fallen stop sign or other calls to service, Sneddon said, while putting corrective and preventative into the same category of taking care of existing county assets.
First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal applauded “significant savings” through cost-effective maintenance methods, requesting departments present numbers to illustrate expense reductions.
— Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.