Drivers in Los Gatos are right to think that the roads are getting bumpier every day. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s “Pothole Report,” an annual report on the state of Bay Area Roads and Highways found that Los Gatos’s roads have dropped three points over the last year, on a scale measured from 1 to 100. Only Gilroy matched Los Gatos in terms of road quality, while in Santa Clara County as a whole, the state of the roads actually improved, if only a tad, by one point.

That’s hardly reassuring. San Jose, the county’s largest city, is infamous for the poor quality of its roads, dubbed “the worst in the nation” last year. With 64 percent of that city’s roads in poor condition, it had nowhere else to go but up.

Then again, the Report states that “overall conditions on our 42,500 lane-miles of city streets and county roads essentially are the same as they were a decade ago.” With a drop in tax revenues and the decline in value of the gas tax due to inflation, there is less money every year to repair all but the most serious problems.

The costs are borne largely by the drivers, who must pay for more frequent vehicle maintenance and repairs because of the bad roads. Last year, it was reported that the average cost of car repairs needed because of the state of the roads is five or six times higher than the cost of increased registration fees then proposed.

According to TRIP, urban drivers end up paying over $750 more annually for transportation because of accelerated vehicle deterioration, increased maintenance, additional fuel consumption and tire wear, all attributed to poor road quality. That additional fuel consumption also makes it more difficult for California to reach its targeted reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

As a suburb, the wear and tear on vehicles is not as great as it would be in San Jose. Regardless, the state of the town’s roads is taking a toll on residents’ vehicles and their wallets.

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