Santa Rosa, CA – November 17, 2015 – On Tuesday, November 10th, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved new one-time funding that will help build approximately 100 miles of new roads. The Board added $13.5 million of funding, which brings the total general fund contribution to roads to a record $25 million. New roads projects will be selected in 2016 and built in 2017. The Board also reinforced their commitment to stable, ongoing funding by indexing the annual general fund contribution toward road repair by up to 2% annually.
“The one-time funding of $13.5 million is one of many steps this Board is taking to address our pavement crisis,” said Chairwoman Gorin. “A one-time allocation does not solve the legacy of underfunded infrastructure, but it will make a significant positive impact for our pavement preservation program.”
The additional funds come from a combination of sources in the general fund, including a total of $9.3 million from Teeter and various fund balances. Specifically, the Board dedicated fund balances from fees charged to offset the negative impacts of aggregate mining ($90,000) and waste hauling ($709,000); funds collected to offset impacts of cannabis farming ($213,200); and funds that had been set aside to incentivize local leveraging for special districts to match road funding ($357,400).
In addition to these sources, the Board will consider possible additional revenue in spring 2016, including Vehicle License Fees, revenue from the Transient Occupancy Tax (often referred to as hotel-bed tax revenue), general obligation bonds. Additionally the Board will consider a possible increase to aggregate mitigation fees and other heavy vehicles.
“These miles are in addition to the accomplishments of the past three years, and roads that are scheduled for the summer of 2016. From 2013-2016 almost 200 miles of roads will be resurfaced, with about $43 million dollars from the general fund and $9 million in competitive federal grant funding,” stated Supervisor Rabbitt. “All together, we are looking at approximately 300 miles of new road surfaces in five years, an enormous and necessary step forward.”
In California, 19 of 58 counties invest general fund money into roads, with Sonoma County dedicating the most funds to roads, according to a report from the State Controller’s Office. San Francisco is the second largest contributor of local general fund dollars for roads, and of the remaining counties, half dedicate less than $1 million. Sonoma County contributes ongoing funds for pavement preservation (rebuilding roads at the end of their life and treatments to extend pavement life), and corrective maintenance (pot holing, signals, signage, etc.).
“By programming these one-time funds for construction in 2017 we are allowing time to plan and design great roads, and evaluate opportunities to leverage this funding so it can have the maximum impact,” added Supervisor Gore. “We will look for ways to make our dollars go further, possibly through matching grants, or interested local residents willing to form a district who would provide a portion of funds for road improvements.”
Supervisor Zane commented, “Roads are more expensive to rebuild than to maintain. This investment is a jumpstart to improve our pavement condition and bring us closer to the sweet-spot where we can do less rebuilding and more maintenance. This Board takes preventative measures in every other area. If we invest in infrastructure now it will save us from spending more later.”
“The process of road selection created in the Long Term Road Plan is proving to be effective in choosing roads that are important to Sonoma County residents. Many of the roads that have been nominated as some of the worst in the County are on the schedule for next year,” stated Supervisor Carrillo. “West County has the most County roads of any area, and this funding will result in important improvements for residents while balancing the many other priorities and initiatives that rely on general fund support.”
The Long Term Road Plan, adopted by the Board in 2014, sets an initial goal of improving over half - 850 miles out of 1,380 - of the County’s road miles in the next 10 years. About 130 miles of roads were resurfaced in the summers of 2013, 2014 and 2015. In the summers of 2016 and 2017, 167 additional miles could be resurfaced with ongoing annual general fund contributions and the new one-time allocation. Resurfacing almost 300 miles of roads in five years is a testament to the Board’s dedication to infrastructure, and the innovative and effective pavement treatments used by Transportation and Public Works.
To view more information on the Pavement Preservation Program, or to see maps of what roads will be paved next year, please visit http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Pavement-Preservation/.