The quality of the pavement on an average street or road in the Bay Area has improved slightly in recent years, but the struggle to find funding for necessary repairs will likely hinder further improvements, according to a report released Tuesday by a regional transportation agency.
The report, released by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for the years 2006-2009, is based on a 100-point rating system of pavement conditions. The report showed that the overall average score for the Bay Area rose a single point compared to the previous report for 2005-2007 and remained in “fair” condition.
MTC spokesman John Goodwin said “while the numbers are inching in the right direction, we are far short of where we want to be as a region.”
The report rated Brentwood, located in eastern Contra Costa County, as the city with the best streets in the Bay Area.
Suisun City, located in Solano County, had the most improved rating compared to the agency’s previous report for the time period between 2005 and 2007.
Los Altos, in Santa Clara County, was deemed the city with the best all-around pavement management program because of its consistently high ratings in recent years.
Goodwin said some cities that were at or near the top of the list were newly incorporated, like Brentwood, or very small like Belvedere, which finished with the fourth-highest rating.
However, Goodwin said the strongest indicator among cities and counties with good ratings was the portion of its budget spent on preventative measures, such as fixing cracks or other problems before they require major repairs.
“The dollar not spent on preventative repairs becomes five dollars you’ll spend on rehabilitation,” he said.
The lowest-rated streets in the Bay Area were in unincorporated Sonoma County, according to the report.
Goodwin said some of the factors for the low rating were the large network in Sonoma County, and the amount of rainfall the county gets compared to other parts of the Bay Area.
He said Sonoma County also did not have a dedicated transportation sales tax until recently, so as more money comes in from the tax, “we’ll start to see some dividends in upcoming reports.”
Transportation funding remains an issue for all cities and counties in the Bay Area, according to Goodwin.
MTC officials gave out $122 million in federal stimulus money to cities and counties in the region, but most aspects of Bay Area transportation, from state highways, to streets and roads and public transportation, remain underfunded, Goodwin said.
“Every part of the Bay Area transit system has more needs than there are resources available,” he said.
He said MTC’s policy has been to use any available money “to take care of what we already have” and “hold the line against further deterioration.”
The entire list of ratings for Bay Area cities and counties is available at www.mtc.ca.gov/news/press_releases/pavement/PCI_09.pdf.