Council to Look at Ways to Increase Funding Allocations for Roads

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For over a decade now, the city of Davis has understood the daunting task needed to find funding for road maintenance.  Beginning in 2013, when the council identified the shortfall as being over $100 million, they started to adopt a strategy to allocate around $4 million of local funds annually to support pavement maintenance.

With the addition of roughly $1.2 million from SB 1, the city now has about $5 million available annually for road maintenance.

As staff writes: “The approximately $4 million in local fund investment that Council directed in 2013 plus the approximately $1.2 million provided annually in SB 1 funds is making a meaningful difference in the City’s ability to more pro-actively address pavement management.”

Despite this commitment, a new report finds that the average PCI (Pavement Condition Index) “will continue to decrease over time.”

As a result, staff is recommending the council find ways to increase the annual funding even more, and they have asked the council subcommittee of Mayor Pro Tem Gloria Partida and Councilmember Dan Carson “to work with staff and the Finance and Budget Commission to identify opportunities and mechanisms to increase annual funding allocations for roadway maintenance and report back to the City Council.”

Staff notes, “In order to reach the target PCI values set by City Council in 2013 (68 for arterials, 65 for collectors, 60 for residential/local streets and 68 for bike/multi-use paths), the analyses indicates that the City needs to spend approximately $7.9 million per year on streets and $3.9 million per year on bike paths over the next 10 years.”

Nichols Consulting Engineers once again was selected by the city in 2019 to update the Pavement Management Program (PMP).  The PMP’s goal is to achieve as close to the target PCI values set by the council in 2013.

Staff warns that “these targets are not always achievable because transportation maintenance funding has been a growing challenge for communities across the country for many years. If the budget is too low, it may not be possible to maintain the entire pavement system to an average pavement condition, but only a portion of the system.”

Staff further notes, “When pavement repairs are made, it is necessary to also repair and bring into compliance adjacent curb, gutter and sidewalks; American with Disabilities Act (ADA) ramps; and street striping per the new Street Standards.”

Roughly 35 percent of the budget includes costs like planning, design, project management, contract administration and inspection.

Staff writes that of the remaining 65 percent of the budget, “about 85% of the annual pavement maintenance capital improvement program is budgeted for street repairs and 15% for bike paths/shared use paths. It is estimated that the typical roadway project needs to invest approximately 30% of the total pavement construction budget to these non-pavement assets (curb, gutter, sidewalk, and ADA ramps).”

When the budget is not sufficient for maintaining the PCI goal, “the program tracks the shortfall as deferred maintenance.”

One example of deferred maintenance would be that the city puts off “the recommended slurry seal on a residential street in good or fair condition and putting off the base repairs and crack seals recommended. The street will not obtain the added layer of protection and will continue to deteriorate and break down to a level in which a grind and overlay or street reconstruction is needed. Experience and research have shown that it costs much less to maintain pavement in good condition than to repair pavement that has already failed.”

The current average PCI for the city’s street network is 57, and 52 for the bike paths, staff reports.  This is down from 63 in 2015 and 58 for bike paths in 2012.

The consultants investigated the following scenarios over a 10-year period from 2020 to 2029, assuming 15 percent of the budget is spent on bike paths and an annual inflation rate of 4 percent (which is down from the previous projections of an 8 to 9 percent inflation rate).

Scenario 1: Unconstrained Budget – This scenario assumes the City’s funding is unlimited. This would require an investment of $123.5M over the next 10 years.

Scenario 2: City Budget of $4.335M/Year – This scenario assumes the City’s annual funding, including SB 1 funds, will be $4.335 million per year for the next 10 years. (This is based on the assumption that 85% of the total annual pavement management budget, $5.1M with SB1+Local funds, is used for street maintenance and rehab).

Scenario 3: City Budget of $3.349M/Year – This scenario assumes the City’s annual funding does not include SB 1 funding and will be $3.349 million per year for the next 10 years. This is based on the assumption that 85% of the total annual pavement management budget, $3.93M Local funds, no SB 1 funding, is used for street maintenance and rehab).

Scenario 4: Maintain PCI at 59 – This scenario aims to maintain the condition of the network at a PCI of 59 throughout the 10-year analysis period (current PCI is 57 but after the 2020 projects are complete, the PCI will be 59).

Scenario 5: Improve to Target PCIs – This scenario aims to increase the PCI for each functional classification to target values by the end of the 10-year analysis period. The target PCI for arterials is 68, for collectors it is 65, and for residential/local streets it is 60.

Additionally, the NCE report investigates the following scenarios for bike paths:

Scenario 1: Unconstrained Budget – This scenario assumes the City’s funding is unlimited. This would require an investment of $60.4M over the next 10 years.

Scenario 2: City Budget of $765K/Year – This scenario assumes the City’s annual funding, including SB1 funds, will be $765,000 per year (15% of $5.1M) for the next 10 years.

Scenario 3: City Budget of $591K/Year – This scenario assumes the City’s annual funding does not include SB 1 funds and will be $591,000 per year (15% of $3.93M) for the next 10 years.

Scenario 4: Maintain PCI at 52 – This scenario aims to maintain the condition of the network at a PCI of 52 throughout the 10-year analysis period.

Scenario 5: Improve PCI to 68 (average target for arterials, collectors, and residential streets) – This scenario aims to increase the PCI to 68 by the end of the 10-year analysis period.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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8 thoughts on “Council to Look at Ways to Increase Funding Allocations for Roads”

  1. Bill Marshall

    The City used to have a street crew, and equipment, where early intervention was done. The two main threats to AC pavement longevity are oxidation and moisture getting in to the base and subgrade (underlying soil)[the third is, buses]… they are related… once a rut forms (primarily buses), or a crack forms (oxidation and thermal expansion/contraction), water gets in the base and/or subgrade. That’s when things quickly deteriorate. If you have the personnel and equipment to do the early intervention, it is manageable.

    Because those efforts were G-Funded, and with the reallocation of Gas Tax revenues by the State, and a general revenue envy by CH (PW used to have the most stable funding), and finally, an animosity in CH towards DCEA folk, the personnel and equipment for early intervention all but disappeared.

    35% for “…planning, design, project management, contract administration and inspection.”, seems more than a tad excessive… right # should be no lower than ~11%, no higher than ~ 20%. Pavement management is not rocket science. If 10% of the ‘PM budget’ was used to restore in house personnel, materials and equipment to do the early intervention, we’d be much better off.

    BTW, the best time to inspect pavement for problems, is a cold, dry, winter’s day, preferably morning or late afternoon, when the sun angle is low… the AC has thermally contracted, and pavement distress is most visible. More trivia… once, years ago, one of the street crew folk came up with an innovative idea, that was actually quite cost effective to “buy time” to do other strategies, before the damage/deterioration worsened… a tack coat and placement of composition shingles. [kept the water out] Worked great on lower volume streets (collector or less), but ended due to citizen complaints that it was not “aesthetically pleasing”. But, it was a good, long lasting band-aid…

    1. Alan Miller

      [the third is, buses]… they are related… once a rut forms (primarily buses)

      Sounds like the best way to keep the roads in shape is to get rid of buses  😉

      Worked great on lower volume streets (collector or less), but ended due to citizen complaints that it was not “aesthetically pleasing”

      Would people give an F today, considering the shape of the roads isn’t “aesthetically pleasing” neither.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Sounds like the best way to keep the roads in shape is to get rid of buses 

        Actually it is partly a matter of original design, and better yet, better designed buses… the big problem has to do with the design of the suspension, plus weight.  The frequent accel/decel doesn’t help.

        Would people give an F today, considering the shape of the roads isn’t “aesthetically pleasing” neither.

        Don’t know.  Long ago gave up trying to understand “those people”.  Everyone I know who used/promoted the method, have long since retired (or died).

  2. Todd Edelman

    Any scenarios where speeds are reduced, roads are reduced in width and converted to businesses or housing, heavy vehicle use is reduced after any necessary curing?

     

  3. Matt Williams

    The really interesting aspect of this development is the old adage that “money doesn’t grow on trees.” 

    It will be very interesting to see whether Staff (and Council) disclose what the budget cuts are going to be necessary in order to provide the recommended additional funding for roads.

    If they don’t do that , then all we have here is the Emperor’s New Clothes.

    With that said, kudos to Staff for telling it like it is, rather than ignoring reality.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Staff (PW) has been attempting to do so since mid- 80’s … repeatedly… CC response was “thank you for your input”… pretty much end of conversation. Except for some external grant programs… all short-lived…

      Then they (CM/CC) eliminated street crews, patching equipment, and materials from the budgets.

      As for where the money could come from, look at budget categories added since ~ 1985.  Lots of incremental priorities/decisions… think ‘domino theory’… each tile is small, insignificant… but when set up end to end…

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