LA City Council Wants $3 Billion to Fix "Roughest Roads in the Nation"

Council members are asking for $3 billion to fix "failed" streets in LA.

By Heather Navarro
|  Monday, Apr 8, 2013  |  Updated 3:44 PM PDT
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LA Council to Tackle $3 Billion Pothole Problem

Jennifer Bjorklund

LA City Council members push for a $3 billion pothole measure to fix LA's streets. The cost would be covered through residents' property taxes over 29 years, a spokesman said Monday, April 8, 2013.

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Members of the Los Angeles City Council asked residents for $3 billion to fix LA’s pothole problem -- the worst in the nation, according to a national transportation research group.

The Public Safety Committee and Los Angeles City Council members Joe Buscaino and Mitch Englander will hold a meeting Monday evening in a series dedicated to LA’s “broken streets” at the Port of Los Angeles Administration building in San Pedro.

“The streets have faced years and years of neglect,” said Dennis Gleason, spokesman for Buscaino. “We haven’t heard a single person say that the streets are good enough.”

Buscaino and Englander proposed the billion-dollar measure in January, asking for an increase in property taxes that would cost the average LA household $121 annually over a 29-year period. The estimate is based off of the average Los Angeles property valued at $350,000.

Residents would have the final say if approved by the city council for the November 2014 ballot.

The committee and council members have received minor pushback from residents about the proposal due to the property tax required to cover the costs.

But residents seem to agree that LA’s streets are in poor condition, Gleason said.

Streets in every district from “San Pedro to Sylmar” need to be fixed, Gleason said.

Without the major overhaul of LA city streets, which includes tearing up streets and repaving them, residents spend an estimated $746 per year on fixing up their car after driving LA’s rough roads, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

“Residents will end up paying indirectly, through increased auto repairs, higher bus fares, increased gas consumption, more traffic and lower property values,” said Buscaino in a press release.

The city council delayed a decision on the measure after the Neighborhood Council Board requested more time to study it.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa famously championed “Operation Pothole” and “Operation Smooth Ride” in an attempt to fix LA’s streets, and even knighted himself the “pothole king.”

Villaraigosa filled 800,000 potholes during the two and a half years “Operation Pothole” ran, he said in a press release in 2009. In the race to take over as mayor as Villaraigosa terms out, Wendy Greuel called herself the “pothole queen,” saying she has filled “every pothole in her district,” according to her website.

Eric Garcetti, running for the mayor’s spot against Greuel, also advocated for pothole repairs with his “Garcetti 311” mobile phone app where residents can snap photos of potholes or other nuisances and report them to the city.

The committee will hold five more meetings in the Valley, South and West Los Angeles, among other areas before holding field meetings where the public can comment.

The meetings will be held:

  • April 16 at 6 p.m. at Van Nuys City Hall: 14410 Sylvan St. Van Nuys, CA 91401
  • April 23 at 6 p.m. at the West Los Angeles Municipal Buidling: 1645 Corinth Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025
  • April 25 at 6 p.m. at Constituent Services Center: 8475 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90044
  • April 30 at 6 p.m. - Location to be determined.

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