Last month, SanJose.com reported that the city has the worst roads, not only in the Bay Area, not only in California, but in the entire U.S. of A. City officials aren’t happy about that, and they’ve finally decided to do something. The problem is the cost. The backlog for road repairs is $250 million, and the city has only budgeted $20 million—they simply can’t afford much more. About half of that $20 million is regional, state and federal grants, which will not be available until next year. That leaves about $10 million for this year, while officials estimate that it would cost $100 million a year over the next five years to get the roads into average or good shape.
Normally, this would mean more taxes, but Mayor Chuck Reed admits that there is no community support for that. While virtually everyone agrees that the roads are a problem, only 58 percent are willing to pay more taxes to improve them.
That could be enough to pass Measure B, which requires only a simple majority. The measure adds a an additional $10 vehicle registration fee, which is intended to cover a variety of transportation programs, including road repairs. Yet even if there is $20 million in the current budget, and even if Measure B passes, the city would still have only $25 million to spend on fixing the roads, one-quarter of what is actually needed.
Hans Larsen, the city’s Transportation Director, is suggesting a parcel tax, but given the current economic climate, that is not likely to go over well. After all, even the mayor admits that it doesn’t have much of a chance.
Read More at The Mercury News.