We don't need to tell you, but California's roads need some serious help. Our grand potholes, rough pavement and aging bridges are a national embarrassment.

Late last year national transportation group TRIP concluded that Angelenos pay $2,458 a year for “extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the cost of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor.”

The state Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing recently met informally in Los Angeles, and the topic was how to get our crappy roads fixed, and fast.

The organization SCAG (formerly the Southern California Association of Governments) says that delayed repairs “are costing the region billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.”

The group says the state has a $59 billion “backlog” of road work and that California cities have an additional $70 billion backlog for local street repairs.

SCAG argues that we can actually save cash by getting our asphalt up to par: “Every dollar spent on preventative maintenance today will save as much as $20 in emergency repairs,” the organization says, paraphrasing data presented by SCAG executive director Hasan Ikhrata.

“Accelerating highway and transportation projects is in everyone’s best interests,” he said.

State Sen. Jim Beall, chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing, said keeping our roads in shape is good for business:

Fixing our existing 50,000 lane miles of aging highways, 12,000 bridges and cracked surfaces of countless municipal roads is a formidable hurdle, but by taking action now, the ripple effect will benefit our economy and environment.

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