With winter storms causing $70 million in damages to local roads, the County of Santa Cruz has launched a “greeting card” campaign to urge lawmakers across the State to move forward with funding proposals to improve local road conditions across California.
Declines in State funding have contributed to the overall poor condition of local roads in Santa Cruz County. With hundreds of millions in unmet funding needs and a Pavement Condition Index of below 50 (poor), added funds could help the County prevent further damages in subsequent years through increased maintenance and improvement projects.
“In the last three years alone, we’ve lost 20-30 percent of our State gas tax funding, and we’ve been forced to reduce the size of our roads crews,” Public Works Director John Presleigh said. “They did amazing work to during the storms to clear and stabilize roads, but we have long-term funding issues that need to be addressed. It’s time for the Legislature to step up and help local communities.”
With Gov. Jerry Brown having set an April 6 deadline for any deal, all 120 members of the State Assembly and Senate will receive one of a set of six cards, each one urging them to reach an agreement on road funding. In particular, Senate Bill 1 and Assembly Bill 1 would increase funding for local roads across the state by $2.2 billion annually, with added funding for the County and local cities as follows:
City/County Annual Funding
- Santa Cruz County $8,919,499
- Santa Cruz $2,194,387
- Watsonville $1,791,830
- Scotts Valley $410,332
- Capitola $345,796
The cards depict a small fraction of the damage inflicted upon local roads during recent storms, including images of Bear Creek Road, Swanton Road, Valencia Road, Soquel-San Jose Road, Glenwood Drive and more. Many major routes have been closed indefinitely, several homes remain inaccessible by vehicle and one elementary school was forced to move.
At one point, more than 60 local roads were closed by storm damage, along with every state highway into Santa Cruz County. This affected the ability of residents to get to work and school, impacted emergency response times and disrupted commercial activity.