Three things have become clear in Mayor Jerry Sanders' stewardship of San Diego's roads in the final year of his term.
1.) Streets are worse.
2.) The city doesn't spend enough money to keep them from degrading even further every year.
3.) The Mayor's Office takes no responsibility for either of these failures.
And now San Diego's road repair problems have reached breathtaking new depths, engineering officials revealed at a City Council committee hearing Wednesday.
Simply maintaining the status quo would cost $160 million a year. That's more than the annual budgets of the parks and rec, library and environmental services departments combined.
The city's plan to borrow $500 million won't provide enough money to reverse the decay or even preserve the status quo. Under its current proposal, the city won't begin making progress until 2017.
So over the next five years streets, buildings and storm drains will continue to crack, crumble and deteriorate.
Part of San Diego's problem is they deferred maintenance of the roads and now the repairs are even more costly. Their mistake started a decade before the roads started to crumble. Preventive maintenance is much cheaper than rebuilding road beds. I know a few LB readers have just thrown out the idea that it is not true. The offer still stands and is raised to $200. Write and publish an evidence based editorial that demonstrates that it is not true that preventive maintenance of streets is not cheaper than waiting until they are all torn up and filled with potholes, and the money is yours. Yes, that would be saying that the city's own analysis that shows the City to have accumulated $17 million in deferred maintenance is based on a faulty model.
Anybody on the council interested in $200 for their campaign war chest?
Ya ya, Encinitas' streets are in good condition, everybody acknowledging that there are sections of pretty screwed up road, but that is not the point. The point is not whether or not there are lots of potholes now, but if there will be lots of potholes in the future because we did not do our maintenance now, or if future budgets will have huge craters in them to make up for work we didn't do now (and over the last decade). It is another example of passing debt to our future. Someone will have to pay and eventually the costs are going to hit something we are personally and emotionally connected to. Want the Hall park built? Well we are already strapped for cash on that. Want a park on Piraeus (with lots of air pollution)? We are already strapped for cash on that too. Want a nicer Moonlight Beach (or just the millions in funds from the State)? What will you want? Hope it doesn't cost anything. Our City does not do honest long-term planning, unless the "just trust us" & the hope and pray method is OK with you.
Why pay now when you can force our kids to pay?
The people of this city should step up and start paying our way. If that means short term raising of taxes, compensating city staff fairly, ending the giving away of public money in real estate transactions, and ending bro deals with city resources, I'm cool with that. Regardless, the City should implement long-term financial plans that extend over the period of their current liabilities and are based on truly conservative estimates tied to contingencies if the numbers turn out to be cooked.
So, does anybody want a bumper sticker that says "Save Our Streets?"