Does the County pay for local street maintenance?
(Cliff Notes: Not really, though the County is in charge of spending it. Ultimately the fix-it money comes from us state and federal taxpayers, water ratepayers and golf tournament consumers.)
On May 11, 2017, the Director of the Sacramento County Department of Transportation, Michael Penrose, was the featured speaker at Supervisor Susan Peters' Arden Arcade meeting at Howe Park. Per the Supervisor's pre-meeting email note, the presentation was described as "Roads 101", which would "explain how road maintenance is funded, the funding limitations and regulatory restrictions as well as analysis of Governor Brown’s legislative package that is expected to help address the road maintenance challenges faced by local government." Mr. Penrose told the audience about Sacramento County's maintenance backlog, which is now up around $450 million. He also described some significant paving projects the County is planing for in the summers of 2017 and 2018.
The County's paving projects rely heavily on money from the Federal Regional Surface Transportation Program. Those federal funds are block grant dollars passed through to Sacramento County from the state (CalTrans) via our local metropolitan planning organization, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) -- a convoluted tale worthy of its own telling at another time. Denizens of Arden Arcade are probably familiar with at least 4 kinds of pavement on our local streets, such as:
- Original pavement -- typically laid down with federal funds associated with the establishment of McClellan and Mather AFBs before WWII and the builders of our post-WWII residential subdivisions and commercial establishments. We can readily see this kind of pavement in front of our homes and businesses. By now these roads have lots of cracks, slurry-sealed cracks, potholes and pothole patches
- Pre-election pavement -- this is pavement, typically federally-funded, laid down shortly before an election, that helps demonstrate that someone cares about our streets, such as found a block or two on El Camino west of Fulton
- Special event pavement -- this is pavement that spiffs up a few streets around special event sites, say a golf tournament venue, and is generally paid for with a mix of federal funds plus some revenues from the special event, and
- Pavement someone other than the County pays for after they dig up a street -- this is pavement to repair damage done to streets as part of a public works infrastructure project, such as pavement laid down by the Sacramento Suburban Water District after the installation of water meters throughout neighborhoods.
Mr. Penrose spoke of A.C. Overlay projects (that's road-engineer-speak for "new asphalt", which these days means 2" of rubberized asphaltic concrete atop the old road), including the repairs to Fulton Avenue between Arden Way and Auburn Blvd. in 2017 and on some parts of El Camino, Marconi and Eastern in 2018 (see map 1 below). He also mentioned the repaving of neighborhood streets in the Drayton Heights portion of the Cottage Creek neighborhood, where the streets were substantially ripped up in conjunction with the installation of new water meters (see map 2 below). Those streets will be paved using money from the Sacramento Suburban Water District and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. More paving projects can happen later after the big bucks start to flow from the recent hike in state gas taxes.