Another in a series of informative articles on our local transportation infrastructure from the Journal highlights the dangerous disrepair of many rural roads. Putting road maintenance and repair first – particularly where basic access is at risk – is CRTP’s top priority. Maintaining and repairing roads before conditions become so bad is far cheaper in the long run, but with such a deficit in transportation funding, officials are just doing “triage”:
“‘We currently have between $200 and $250 million dollars worth of deferred maintenance,” [Humboldt County Public Works Director Thomas Mattson] said. ‘I do not have anywhere close to enough money to bring our roads up to an acceptable state of repair.’ … Keeping up with the basic maintenance of roads — cutting back brush, cleaning out culverts and repairing potholes — requires $20 million a year, according to Mattson. He currently works with a budget of $10 million, meaning the county accumulates about $10 million in deferred road maintenance annually.”
This state of affairs really highlights the importance of prioritizing maintenance and repair over projects that add new capacity – particularly new capacity for heavy trucks that do disproportionate damage to our roads.