potholes

California rectifies recession-neglected road repairs

By April 21, 2015 April 23rd, 2015 No Comments

There’s a big push to repair roads and streets in California, much-needed highway maintenance that was put off in the recent economic downturn. It’s a story of righting some fiscal wrongs and opting for long-term solutions ­– fixing pavement so Golden State motorists have fewer car repairs to tend to and business can move along at a faster clip.

Appropriately enough, the state capital is where some of the most aggressive repair work is underway in the spring of 2015. That’s in Sacramento County, where road crews are filling up to 60 potholes per day, according to the county highway maintenance manager there. That part of the local budget should be about $2.8 million per year, just for the county roads. State highways – which reportedly have a backlog of $59 billion in repair work – are administered by Caltrans.

In the capital city alone, tending to these much-needed pavement maintenance is a fiscally sound move. The nature of asphalt and concrete is that time, temperature, moisture and traffic all eventually break down the road surface. Deferred work increases in cost by a multiple of five to seven within five years – hitting public coffers harder as complaints grow from motorists. Industry, too, suffers losses as a result of poor roads.

Syar Industries, with a location in the Sacramento ares, offers a greener, more permanent asphalt – Bioblends™ by EZ Street, a cold mix that is more efficiently applied regardless of wet or dry conditions. It’s made with a bio-fuel substitute (traditional asphalt is made with diesel fuel), which produces no VOC fumes and has a smaller carbon footprint. It’s green in several ways because it lasts longer and negates the need for repairs in future years.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has found that 34% of the state’s 31,827 miles of major roads are in poor condition. California State Senator Janet Nguyen wrote an OpEd article for the Orange County Register decrying how a voter-passed referendum (Prop 42), meant to lock in taxes and fees generated from drivers to transportation infrastructure applications, had nonetheless been diverted to other uses. The recession five years ago led to budgetary artistry, so to speak, which included loans of $3 billion from highway operations funds to the general fund to manage non-transportation matters (the loans have never been repaid). Other matters became priorities and the motorists are now paying for it. Nguyen calls upon her fellow legislators to restore funding transparency in order to fix the roads and bridges.

Perhaps following Sacramento’s lead, the rest of the state can get back to a smoother, even greener road system.