Once every four years, America’s civil engineers rate the nation’s major infrastructure and issue a Report Card for America’s Infrastructure (Report Card). We got our copy from Stephen Urbanek, pavement preservation manager for Sonoma County’s Department of Transportation and Public Works.

While the U.S. score was D+, California earned a composite grade of C for items that included roads and transportation along with energy, water and environment, parks and public schools. Specifics about roads:

  • Driving on roads in need of repair costs California motorists $13.892 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs – $586 per motorist.
  • 68% of California’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
  • California has 171,874 public road miles.
  • California’s highway vehicle-miles traveled in 2009 was approximately 8,647 per capita, ranking it 40th in the nation.
  • California’s gas tax of 48.7 cents per gallon has not been increased in ? years.

“It is clear that we have a significant backlog of overdue maintenance across our infrastructure systems, a pressing need for modernization, and an immense opportunity to create reliable, long-term funding sources to avoid wiping out our recent gains,” according to the report issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers. “Overall, most grades fell below a C, and our cumulative GPA inched up just slightly to a D+ from a D four years ago.

“Forty-two percent of America’s major urban highways remain congested, costing the economy an estimated $101 billion in wasted time and fuel annually. While the conditions have improved in the near term, and Federal, state, and local capital investments increased to $91 billion annually, that level of investment is insufficient and still projected to result in a decline in conditions and performance in the long term. Currently, the Federal Highway Administration estimates that $170 billion in capital investment would be needed on an annual basis to significantly improve conditions and performance.”

Read the full report here.


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  1. Marc

    This article is NOT telling the whole story on California taxes.

    “Every state charges excise tax on gasoline, the Tax Foundation says. But excise taxes are a flat rate per gallon, so taxes collected don’t change when gas prices fluctuate, the foundation says. In fact, tax revenues might decline as vehicle owners curtail their driving when prices rise.

    But seven states, including California, also charge a sales tax on gasoline, which is based on the dollar amount of the transaction, so as the price of gasoline goes up, so do the tax revenues.”

    March 21st, 2013 8:19 am

  2. Patrick

    And the other 32% are undrivable…

    March 21st, 2013 9:00 am

  3. Nice Things

    And in other news- Nice things cost money.

    March 21st, 2013 9:01 am

  4. Fred Mangels

    Sorry. Maybe I don’t get around much, but the vast majority of roads I’ve driven on are fine. There are a handful in and around Eureka that need some work- a few need a lot- but most are in pretty decent shape.

    March 21st, 2013 10:28 am

  5. Dan Drummond Sr

    I guess we built too many roads at 1950-2000 prices, and now we can no longer maintain all of them at 2013 prices with the current tax base. Are we at the end of the road yet?

    If you go to India the roads are being built almost entirely with private sector money and by the private sector. If you look at many, many countries in Europe that’s how they’re doing it. ~Fareed Zakaria

    March 21st, 2013 12:01 pm

  6. Marc

    Dan, there was money put aside for road work in the gas taxes but the state is putting it along with a LOT of other taxes into the General fund and used elsewhere and NOT on roads the money pit is the problem not the revenue.

    March 21st, 2013 2:58 pm

  7. ken

    Yes. Now it is very imporant that we get to work cutting down all the trees alongside the roads, while leaving all the stumps behind.

    March 21st, 2013 4:47 pm

  8. Joe

    “Highway taxes on fuel have not been raised in 7 years” give me a break there would have been plenty of money for road repairs the problem is our legislators robbing the coffers raising gas taxes won’t fix the problem that just gives our elected officals more to take

    March 22nd, 2013 6:49 am

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