Published in POLITICS AS USUAL
San Diego Roads Paved with Problems and DejectionWritten by Saad Asad
I hate San Diego roads — I really do. I can hardly read a book on the bus or keep a cup of coffee from spilling while traveling over the endless potholes lining the city.
Thursday, 27 October 2011 11:57
Earlier this month, a gigantic sinkhole the size of Mt. Doom opened up on Campus Point Drive. City officials estimate the total cost for fixing all public infrastructure including streets, storm drains and buildings will be $840 million.
TRIP, a national transportation research group, ranks San Diego as the No. 8 city with the worst roads among big cities. They estimated that drivers spend an extra $654 a year to operate their vehicles because of the poorly maintained roads. Three other California cities make the top five: San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose.
The principal blame for San Diego’s languishing roads lies with the bureaucracy. There is no assessment of which projects need repair: City council approval can take months to assess them, even longer to award repair contracts and take the time it takes for actual repairs. Also, the pension crisis in the last decade hit the city budget hard, leaving roads in disrepair. Obviously, short-term thinking has come back to haunt us.
That’s not to say politicians haven’t been trying to fix this problem. Committees have been formed to perform assessment of projects that need repair, attempts have been made to reduce red tape and the city has spent 6 1/2 more on road repairs than under the previous mayoral administration.
It has become an important issue in the 2012 mayoral election as well. Candidates like Councilman Carl DeMaio and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher have released plans on infrastructure improvement.
At their own peril, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Congressman Bob Filner have not released any specifics on how they would solve San Diego’s pothole problem.
DeMaio’s plan is superior to Fletcher’s which includes platitudes like “creating a culture of accountability” and “streamlining the process.”
Although DeMaio’s proposals are specific, they are not necessarily realistic.
Part of it includes a ballot referendum asking the voters to lock in all spending growth into infrastructure improvements, which will be a difficult hurdle for DeMaio.
I don’t know about you, but roads need to be a top priority for San Diego’s political class.
If I can’t fill up my McDonald’s extra-large cup to the brim and drive, then I don’t even know what it means to be an American anymore.
Repair assessments need to be made, funding must be found for them and red tape needs to be cut, gosh darnit!
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