Garcetti, City Leaders, Promise Hundreds of Repaired Streets Every Year
Flanked by elected and appointed city officials, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a handful of initiatives and reforms that would increase city revenue for road repaving by nearly $50 million a year at the “under reconstruction” corner of National and Barrington Boulevards in West Los Angeles.
“All told, we are going to pay another 200 miles of road, every year, on top of the 200 miles of road in this year’s budget,” Garcetti stated. “That’s 400 miles extra more of road paved every single year.”
Garcetti outlined plans that would allow the city to recapture and save funds in a variety of ways.
First, Garcetti pledged that the city will refurbish and upgrade its asphalt plant in South L.A. The improved plant will operate more efficiently, be able to recycle used and broken asphalt and even be better for the environment.
Later today, Counclmember Joe Buscaino will introduce legislation that will require all private parking garages to accept credit cards. 10% of revenue from private parking is supposed to be returned to the city. While he didn’t say that he thinks that parking garage operators are lying, he did point out that there is more of a paper trail when someone swipes a card rather than when they hand over cash.
That paper trail could lead to another $20 to $25 million for the city, which Garcetti pledged would go right back into increasing the city’s road reconstruction program.
The last area that the city could improve, is the formula it uses to charge private companies when they rip up the street: usually cable or telephone companies. The city created a formula in 1996 to estimate the reimbursement a private company should pay the city. Over the years, the formula hasn’t been tweaked, and Garcetti seems anxious to make sure that L.A.’s taxpayers aren’t being charged to fix a street that was intentionally destroyed by a private interest.
The total increase in revenue could be “around $10 million.”
Here’s the entire press conference w/Garcetti, Buscaino, Galerpin and Bonin
While the amount generated is hardly enough to address the billions of dollars needed to restore city streets to a state of good repair; Buscaino points out that the city can’t just count on new revenue from taxes and bonds to fix L.A.’s streets.
“Residents want better streets, and are willing to pay more to improve them, but only if we as a city do a better job operating efficiently and spending their money wisely,” Buscaino stated.
He followed by telling a stories of how residents would fight to get their streets repaved only to see them dug up weeks later or how streets would be repaved, but it would take weeks for the markings to be repainted.
Responding to a question from Streetsblog about road bicycle lanes and crosswalks, Garcetti responded that coordination between LADOT, Bureau of Street Services and other departments was a critical way to save both time and money.
“It slows things down when we’re not coordinated,” Garcetti. “It takes more time and it frustrates drivers.”
Don’t worry, he also promised that new streets would have the most recently approved design, including bike lanes and the improved “Continental Crosswalks.”
Speaking without prepared remarks, Mike Bonin, who represents the Westside community where the press conference took place and Chair of the City Council Transportation Committee, made the case that repaved streets are improved for all road users.
“We cannot have a robust bicycle network in this city if you are riding down a bike lane and it’s pockmarked or full of potholes that could cause you to flip and risk your life,” Bonin stated. “We cannot have walkable neighborhoods if our sidewalks are buckled and not navigable. We can do better.”
The initiatives announced today also included new avenues for community involvement, a three year moratorium on street cuts on streets after repaving, and prioritizing street resurfacing based on need. For more, read the Mayor’s press release posted on Streetsblog Lite.