A Plan to Fix Failed Streets
Posted by Councilmember Englander on April 08, 2016 at 2:46 PM
This Wednesday, together with my colleague Councilmember Joe Buscaino, I co-authored a motion requesting the City Council approve and adopt a policy that would dedicate at least two-thirds of the City's share of future Local Return funding from the proposed Measure R2 ballot measure toward the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the City's streets that are in "D" and "F" condition. The Local Return refers to funds that pass directly to the various cities for projects outside of the larger ballot measure project list.
Additionally, the motion asks the CLA and CAO, in coordination with appropriate departments, report back with an expenditure and work plan that includes a minimum allocation of two-thirds of the City's share of potential Local Return funding for a capital improvement program for street reconstruction and rehabilitation. It also asks the CAO, in coordination with the Department of Transportation, to report on the estimated amount of the City's share of the Local Return revenue generated by the half cent sales tax measure that is anticipated to be on the November 2016 ballot.
The Metro Board of Directors recently approved a Draft Expenditure Plan on how to grow and improve our region's growing transportation system. If approved, the Plan will be funded through a half-cent sales tax that is expected to generate $120 billion over 40 years. In addition to 36 major highway and transit projects, the Plan also includes a "Local Return" element that would be allocated to each jurisdiction in the County based on population.
The City of Los Angeles has the largest local street and sidewalk network in the country. Together, streets and sidewalks comprise the most basic infrastructure components of our local transportation system, and both are in dire need of improvement.
As we know from the work that Councilmember Buscaino and I did on the Save Our Streets LA (SOSLA) Plan, nearly a third of all streets are in poor condition. A 2013 report from an independent third party, Harris and Associates, estimates the cost to bring all streets into a state of good repair is $3.86 billion. Councilmember Buscaino and I asked that the City look into a 1/2-cent sales tax to fund a program to bring all City streets up to "B" condition within 15-years.
SOSLA included Complete Streets elements to encourage walkability and bikeability for the safety of all users and included sidewalk improvements. It also looked to propel other policy goals such as stormwater capture and groundwater recharge aided by our street infrastructure.
The City's current funding of the pavement preservation program, which focuses on less expensive preservation methods like slurry seal, is simply not enough to cover the costs of restoring streets in "poor" condition. These streets must be completely reconstructed at a cost as high as $2.5 million per mile. Since streets are used by transit users, bicyclists, and motorists, it is appropriate for the City to allocate a significant portion of any Local Return revenue to restoring streets that are currently in "D" and "F" condition.
-Mitchell Englander, Councilmember Twelfth District