Cities look at funding options for street repairs

At least three local cities are seriously mulling over how to fund improvements to local streets in dire need of repair.

Federal and state grants, gas tax revenue from the state and Measure A funds provide money to get streets up to snuff, but cities have found that these sources are still not enough to fund all the needed work.

The Millbrae City Council last week examined possible ways to fund these improvements, including revenue from soon-to-be-installed red-light cameras, increased developer impact fees, or a possible 2007 bond measure, according to a report prepared by Public Works Director Ron Popp.

On the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Pavement Condition Index, where a score of 100 is best, Millbrae streets on average earned a 63. The city needs approximately $24.4 million to bring that average up to 70.

The San Mateo City Council last month also reviewed street condition updates, which indicate that 24 miles of roads were in “very poor” condition, according to a recent report by Public Works acting Deputy Director SusannaChan.

The city plans to spend approximately $5.4 million in roadway improvements this fiscal year, but still needs to figure out a long-term strategy for funding roadways in coming years, Chan said.

“No decisions have been made,” Chan said. “But the council wants to make sure we have a plan in place for decades, not just for now.”

Redwood City senior civil engineer Saber Sarwary said his city is getting state grant money to pave parts of Industrial Road and Whipple Avenue from Veterans Boulevard to El Camino Real. City staff are also working on securing a federal grant to do work on Alameda de las Pulgas and Bay Road.

The city has some $1.7 million allocated this year for roadway revamps, with roughly $600,000 for the Whipple and Industrial projects and another $1.1 million from the city’s Street Pavement Management Program — funded with Measure A money — for several residential streets south of Woodside Road and north of El Camino Real.

“Streets are meant to last approximately 20 years, but the funding is often not available for most cities to do routine maintenance,” Sarwary said.

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