Pothole problems on the rise in San Jose

October 25, 2011 7:27:28 PM PDT
Money troubles mean San Jose is ignoring its roads and potholes are now a bigger issue than ever before.

The city has $277 million in deferred maintenance right now and that problem is only getting worse. Driving on San Jose streets can be like navigating a land mine of potholes.

"I hit a pothole in such a fashion that it blew out a tire out and dented my wheel, and cost about $1,200 bucks in damage," San Jose resident Rob Quintero told ABC7.

It turns out, money is an issue on both sides of the pothole problem. San Jose's Director of Transportation Hans Larsen is warning city leaders that the numbers just do not add up.

"We need to invest about $100 million a year to keep San Jose's roads in good condition. Unfortunately, we only have about $15 million a year," he said.

This is a city with close to 2,400 miles of paved streets and without regular maintenance, conditions are just getting worse.

Larsen says 950 miles of city streets are considered in "good condition," but close to 1,000 miles are rated in "fair condition," another 285 miles are classified as "poor," and nearly 100 miles fall in the "very poor" category.

Mayor Chuck Reed blames dire budget realities, telling ABC7, "I'm not proud of the fact that our roads are in terrible condition, but I'm also not proud of the fact that we had to lay off cops."

One idea is to ask voters to approve a parcel tax earmarked for road repair, but that takes a two-thirds super majority to pass.

"If it's a small amount, you know, that'd be OK," said one San Jose resident.

"Maybe," said another.

If funding remains as-is, by 2020, more than half of the streets in San Jose will be in "poor condition" and that is a bumpy ride no matter where you turn.


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