Report: California Roads in Need of Safety Upgrades

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SACRAMENTO-

A non-profit sponsored by road builders, unions and insurance companies has put out its regular report on California roadways and has again given them bad grades.

The TRIP report says California drivers are losing $44 billion each year because of bad roads. The greatest losses are in the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay region.

In Sacramento, it says the average loss per diver is $1,543. Of that, $592 is attributed to repairs, fuel mileage, and damaged tires, $669 comes from traffic congestion due to roads that need expansion. That includes wasted gas and 32 hours of lost time in traffic jams. Another $282 is linked to more traffic accidents that are more severe than they should be because safety measures like medians, shoulders and signage are not in place.

State and local road officials say a more stable source of funding needs to come from the federal government, which has not committed to a long term funding program to help maintain state roadways.

The City of Sacramento is $125 million behind in road repairs and the Sacramento County is $450 million behind.

"Annually we spend $8-and-a-half or $9 million to address those pavement issues, and we've identified that we need on the order of $34 million," said Mike Penrose, Sacramento County Transportation Director.

You don't have to convince Sacramento resident Joseph Bowman, whose tire warped after hitting a pothole recently. He had to pay out of his own pocket.

"I think we need to invest more in the streets because the streets is how we get to work, it's how we get our kids to school, it's how we go grocery shopping," said Bowman.

The members of the TRIP non-profit organization that released the report says the gasoline is no longer a viable funding source for street and road repairs because it hasn't been raised in 20 years.

Gas saving cars also mean less money is being raised by the gasoline tax.

There has been efforts in California to explore a road use tax based on mileage rather on how much gasoline is sold. So far nothing has come of those ideas.