Sacramento, California – California continues to lead the U.S. with the country’s worst roads, in spite of making some progress, according to a new report by national transportation research group TRIP. The state’s rough pavements are estimated to cost some Californians as much as US$778 per year in additional wear and tear on their vehicles, against the national average of US$413.

Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, San Jose, San Diego and Sacramento made the top-ten list of cities with the bumpiest roads, while Riverside-San Bernardino, Oxnard-Ventura and Fresno were among the top twenty of large urban regions with populations over 500,000.

San Jose fell from the top of its list this year due to a reduction in its percentage of poorly-rated roads, from 66 to 60 per cent in the last two years. Other California cities saw slight reductions, or held the line on deterioration. Even so, TRIP found that while a quarter of the nation’s major metropolitan roads have pavements in poor condition, California cities on the top ten list have 46 to 65 per cent of their pavements rated as “poor”.

“The good news is California is making progress in improving freeways and urban roads, thanks to a serious commitment at all levels of government to address the problem,” said Mark Watts, executive direction of education and advocacy group Transportation California. “The bad news is now that we’ve made a down payment on our infrastructure future, our funding again is threatened. The state budget crisis, a possible reduction in federal funding plus escalating construction costs will put a crimp in the buying power of California’s imperiled transportation dollars. Gas taxes – state and federal – are not keeping up with basic maintenance requirements. There is a real danger of lagging further behind.”

TRIP noted that a U.S. Department of Transportation report to Congress indicates that through 2025, the nation will fall short of the cost of maintaining current urban pavement conditions by US$119 billion, and will fall short of making significant repairs by US$270 billion. The continuing increase in urban traffic is putting significant wear and tear on urban roads; vehicle travel in California increased by 27 per cent from 1990 to 2005, and is expected to increase by another 25 per cent by 2020.

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