Save Our Streets LA: Not Ready for Prime Time
- 25 Mar 2014
- Written by Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-The City is projecting that the repair of one-third of our failed and near failed streets will cost $3.9 billion over the next 20 years.
However, the Save Our Streets LA program does not address the Pavement Preservation Program that is necessary to maintain and repair of the two-thirds of our streets that are in decent condition and ensure that our 6,500 miles of center line streets have an overall “B” rating at the end of this massive infrastructure project, the largest in the City’s history. Otherwise, the City will just be repeating its pattern of systematic neglect.
According the comprehensive report prepared by the Miguel Santana, the City Administrative Officer, and Gerry Miller, the Chief Legislative Analyst, the Pavement Preservation Program will cost $3 billion over the next 18 years. However, this report indicates that there will be an $800 million funding shortfall that may require that the City consider new taxes to fund this program.
The Save Our Streets LA program does not address our 800 miles of alleys nor does it provide any funding estimates for the 350 miles (44%) of alleys that are in need of reconstruction or repair.
There are also a number of other programs relating to our streets that are under consideration by the City, including Green Streets, Complete Streets, Cool Streets, Great Streets, People St, the Bicycle Plan, and the Mobility Element. While not of one of these programs has a price tag attached, they are supported by politically powerful proponents who push for their inclusion in the Save Our Streets LA program, regardless of the additional cost.
Some of these programs may have considerable economic and environmental benefits, especially if the incremental cost is relatively small compared to the benefit. But even then, the City needs to quantify the expense in advance so that the basic Save Our Streets LA program does not run short of money and creates the need for additional levies on our already burdened voters, homeowners, and businesses.
Before placing the half cent increase in our sales tax on the ballot, the City needs to develop a more realistic cost estimate for the Save Our Streets LA program, including not only the repair of our failed and near failed streets, but the maintenance of our existing streets, the reconstruction and repair of our alleys, and any other programs that it intends to pursue.
There are also a number of organizational issues that the City facing the City, including how the many different departments and political constituencies will work together to make sure that the Save Our Streets LA program comes in on time and on budget. But that is for another day.
Until then, the City would be well advised to adhere to the words of General Eisenhower prior to the Normandy invasion: Proper planning and preparation prevents piss poor performance.
Vol 12 Issue 25
Pub: Mar 25, 2014