Things have changed in the last few years. The economy has turned a corner for the better. Southern California's real estate market is hotter than Vegas in July. And we have a new mayor, Eric Garcetti, who has renewed City Hall's promises to fix our torn-up streets.
Garcetti just took office in that sizzling month of July, so we should give him some time. But he has his work cut out for him, because one thing has stayed pretty constant:
L.A. has the worst roads in America.
The national transportation research organization known as TRIP gave us the distinction this week with a report called “Bumpy Roads Ahead: America's Roughest Rides and Strategies to Make our Roads Smoother.”
And it's not all Garcetti's problem. The report looked at a pretty wide swath of SoCal that includes the so-called L.A.-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area.
TRIP found that our shite streets cost the average driver in the region a nation-topping $832 (tires, rims, suspension, etc.). That's quite a cover charge for getting in this club we call paradise.
A estimated 64 percent of greater Los Angeles roads are in “poor” shape the report says.
San Francisco came in third. San Diego made fifth. San Jose was up next, at sixth. See a pattern here? Cities like New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore used to be the places to be if you needed your fillings loosened.
Now West Coast is king. TRIP says it's not likely to get better:
Pavement conditions are likely to worsen under current funding by all levels of government. Through 2032, the U.S. faces a $156 billion shortfall in the amount needed to maintain roadways in their current condition, a $374 billion shortfall to make modest improvements in pavement conditions and a $670 billion shortfall to make significant improvements to roadway conditions.
Will Kempton, executive director of the group Transportation California:
Driving on rough roads is more than just a nuisance for drivers. The deterioration of our transportation system impedes economic growth and robs drivers of hundreds of dollars each year. Without a significant boost in transportation funding at the federal, state and local level, conditions will continue to deteriorate, drivers will continue to pay the price, and our economy will suffer.
We're going to guess the federal government shutdown isn't going to help. TRIP says trickle-down transportation funds were already slashed as part of next year's federal budget.
So next time you dive into a pothole don't just blame City Hall.