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RP STREET WORK JACKHAMMER.JPGCalifornia's network of local streets and roads "is in crisis" and needs $82 billion in repairs and reconstruction to be restored, a coalition of local government groups declared Tuesday.

The California Statewide Needs Assessment Project report closely parallels recent appraisals by the California Transportation Commission that the state highway network also needs hundreds of billions of dollars in work.

Cities and counties are responsible for 81 percent of the state's roadway mileage, and the report by the California State Association of Counties, the League of California Cities and other groups say that while $2.5 billion is being spent annually on their upkeep, they need another $1.9 billion to keep the roadways from deteriorating further and $82 billion over the next 10 years "to bring the system up-to-date."

Localities receive shares of gasoline taxes and supplement those funds with local sales and property taxes to maintain and expand local streets and roads.

"It costs far less to repair and maintain roads than to replace them," Chris McKenzie, executive director of the League of California Cities, said in a statement accompanying the report, adding, "We can either spend money now and make the repairs, or expect to pay a lot more in the future."

The report does not suggest a way to pay for the work it advocates, but notes that $82 billion would translate into an extra 56 cents per gallon of fuel in taxes.

PHOTO CREDIT: A Sacramento City street division road crew uses jackhammers to remove cracked asphalt on Land Park Drive near 2nd Avenue on April 24, 2008. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench


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