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Alameda County roads in need of funding

By Tess Lengyel

Local transportation measure includes $2.3 billion for roadway improvements on November 6, 2012 ballot

ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. -- Roads are the backbone of the economy and mobility in Alameda County. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's (MTC) Pavement Condition Report released on October 29, 2012, almost 50 percent of Alameda County roads are becoming worn to the point where rehabilitation may be needed to prevent rapid deterioration and some are at-risk of requiring costly reconstruction.

MTC evaluates the condition of Bay Area roads annually to assess the average pavement condition index (PCI), which ranges from 0-100. PCI scores of 60-69 are considered fair and indicate that a street needs rehabilitation to prevent significant deterioration.

Four cities in Alameda County have a three-year average PCI score below 60 - Albany, Berkeley, Oakland and San Leandro - which puts them in the "at-risk" category. Only Dublin received a score of "very good" (PCI score 80-89). Significant investments in local streets and roads in Alameda County will be needed to keep the County's streets in a state of good repair. According to MTC's report, those cities that have supported streets and roads investments through local funding options tend to have higher quality roads.

The Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC) recognizes the importance of streets and roads and has placed Measure B1 on the November 2012 ballot to help close the funding shortfall (estimated to be $3.5 billion over the next 25 years) for Alameda County roads.

If approved by voters on November 6, 2012, the 2012 Transportation Expenditure Plan (TEP), which guides Measure B1 expenditures, includes 30 percent, or $2.3 billion over 30 years, for road safety and maintenance of the 8,000 miles of roadway throughout the County.

Alameda, Hayward and Fremont have PCI scores are in the "fair" (60-69) range; their roads are reaching the point where rehabilitation may be needed to prevent rapid deterioration. Major repairs cost between five and 10 times more than routine maintenance; so, these streets are at a critical stage and need new streets-and-roads funding.

"Improving our roadways in Alameda County is critical, not just for auto trips," said Alameda CTC Chair Mayor Mark Green. "Roads are also the backbone for freight, transit, bike and pedestrian trips and, if Measure B1 is approved, we can help close this funding gap."

If voters approve Measure B1, each of the County’s 14 cities can expect to double funding for local streets and roads. The City of Oakland, for example, would receive an 88 percent increase for more than $655M over the next 30 years. Funding for all cities would also increase by 88 percent beginning in 2013 which will help return roads to a good state of repair and stave off higher rehabilitation costs, thereby creating long-term savings.

"Timing is critical," said Alameda CTC Vice Chair Supervisor Scott Haggerty, "We need to prevent our roads from getting worse now, since major road repairs cost five to 10 times more than routine maintenance. Measure B1 will provide a steady stream of local funding to repair and rehabilitate our streets and roads - fixing potholes and improving safety, while creating and maintaining local jobs."

Alameda County's half-cent sales tax for transportation, Measure B, originally approved by voters in 1986, and re-authorized in 2000, currently funds streets-and-roads maintenance which has helped prevent deterioration of many roads in Alameda County. Additionally, the current measure brings transportation solutions and creates local jobs, with more than $2.5 billion in construction projects underway right now. Measure B1 would extend and augment Measure B.

In October 2012, Alameda CTC celebrated a number of projects funded partly by Measure B, including the ground-breaking of the high-tech I-80 Integrated Corridor Mobility Project, which is at the forefront of technology applied to transportation, enabling Alameda County to get the most capacity from our existing infrastructure. On October 26, BART, the Alameda CTC and other partners commemorated the completion of the subway portion of the BART to Warm Springs/South Fremont Extension (the Alameda County sales tax funded a quarter of the total cost) and the completion of the Alamo Trail Undercrossing in Dublin.

On October 31, we celebrated completion of the Lewelling Boulevard Intersection Improvement Project in unincorporated Alameda County and are poised to start construction on the extension of the southbound HOV lane on I-880 between San Leandro and Oakland, and a new westbound HOV lane on I-580 in Dublin/Pleasanton.

These projects provide more efficient travel for people and freight and attract and retain businesses and jobs in Alameda County. Alameda CTC's efforts, through a strong local contracting program, to keep our local dollars local have created more than 5,000 jobs annually over the past decade. Construction projects are just one way in which the Alameda CTC supports jobs and the local economy. Over the past 10 years, the Measure B half-cent sales tax has also provided Alameda County’s cities with more than $250M to undertake much-needed local transportation improvements. Much of this work has been done by local businesses employing local workers. In the same period, five transit agencies that serve the County have received more than $240M, providing jobs to drivers, mechanics and others.

If voters pass Measure B1 and its associated Transportation Expenditure Plan on November 6, 2012, Alameda County would see an infusion of more than $2.3 billion in road maintenance and investments in all modes of transportation, including gap closures and improvements for major bike and pedestrian trails and modernization of BART stations. It would also create a new student transit pass program, restore and expand bus, BART, ferry and rail services in Alameda County.

For more information about the Alameda County Transportation expenditure Plan, visit http://tinyurl.com/9wzg8yp. For more about the Alameda County Transportation Commission, visit www.AlamedaCTC.org

* ALAMEDA COUNTY TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION *
The mission of the Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC) is to plan, fund and deliver transportation programs and projects that expand access and improve mobility to foster a vibrant and livable Alameda County. Alameda CTC coordinates countywide transportation planning and delivers the expenditure plan for the half-cent sales tax approved by 81.5% of county voters in 2000.


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