Potholes, Sales Tax and Los Angeles California
- Jan 16, 2012 | Susan McLain
In 2008, Los Angeles voters “…approved a half-cent sales tax to raise $36 billion over three decades to pay for transportation programs.” Now, according the LA Times, the mayor of Los Angeles would like to take out a loan against that future expected revenue to fund rapidly improving the pothole-ridden streets.
Los Angeles metropolitan area has been reported by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials as having the “…poorest road quality of any metro area in the country.” Currently, the budget has the city focusing on small jobs, less expensive fixes first. According to the interim director of street services, Nazario Sauceda, “…streets that have the most need for repairs are often at the bottom of the list.”
The residents of Los Angeles are frustrated. One resident expressed how he drove through one busy street and hit a pothole and destroyed a tire. He replaced it with his spare, only to drive a little further down the same road and end up with another tire irreparably damaged. According to him, “Driving here now is like an off-road experience. There are so many bad streets, you just sort of accept the pothole as a status quo.”
The next election might see a change in mayor based on pothole platform. City Comptroller, Wendy Greuel, who is running for mayor to succeed existing mayor, Antonio R. Villaraigosa, has a strong history of supporting and implementing pothole fixes. She is attributed to helping fill 164,340. However, Mayor Villaraigosa also campaigned to fix the city’s streets when he was elected. He says, “We’re fixing the streets.” But City Council has been skeptical about how to fund fixing potholes.
The Mayor’s plan is to “…spend $750 million … to fix roughly 1,500 miles of streets, far more than the city has been able to do in the past several decades.” To do so, they would expect rely on the city’s revenues from the half-cent tax approved in 2008.