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Rough roads cost Angelenos, neighbors around $1,000 annually

Picasa/flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana have some of the worst roads in the country, costing drivers around $1,000 a year in wear-and-tear damages. 

This according to a nationwide study by TRIP, a transportation research group based in Washington D.C., that looked at urban areas and their surrounding suburban areas with populations of 250,000 and greater. The group is backed by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, highway and transit construction firms and labor unions.

"The report points out that 28 percent of the nation's major urban roads have pavement conditions in poor conditions," said Rocky Moretti, director of policy and research, via a telephone conference.

There are 73 percent of major roads in the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana areas that are in bad shape, landing them second on the list of roads in the worst condition, with residents paying an estimated $1,031 each. The San Francisco-Oakland area came in first with an estimated $1,044 per person a year.

(Chart courtesy of  TRIP)

When road conditions are bad, vehicles suffer deterioration (leading to possible vehicle replacement), need more routine maintenance, see an increase in fuel consumption and experience tire wear. The costs usually end up falling on the consumer, said Moretti.

"The costs fall on the consumers, notwithstanding that it's typically a public agency supported by either federal, state or local government revenue who make the repairs; when the repairs are not made adequately, the public pays a significant penalty," Moretti said.

“The poor conditions of our roads and highways should be a principal concern of legislators,” said Tom Holsman, Associated General Contractors of California’s chief executive officer, in a statement.

There is uncertainty when it comes to how the government will help fix these issues, as funding for the federal surface transportation program, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), expires at the end of July. 

"If state and local governments through both federal state and local sources don't have adequate resources, then these conditions worsen," Moretti said. "There are significant consequences to not staying on top of this challenge and also getting ahead of it."

This story has been updated.