Report: Local roads among roughest in US, cost drivers $700 a year

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SAN DIEGO – San Diego-area roads are among the most deteriorated in the United States, according to a report released Tuesday by national transportation research group TRIP.

Forty-six percent of major roads in the San Diego urban area are in poor condition and cost drivers $722 a year in additional vehicle operating costs, the Washington, D.C.-based group found.

San Diego ranks 15th in the country for roads in poor condition among large urban areas, according to the study.

The report noted that consumer costs increase when drivers use roads in poor condition because of accelerated vehicle deterioration and depreciation and increased fuel consumption, tire wear and vehicle maintenance.

“Insufficient and deteriorating transportation systems are a strain on our local economy every day. The time and money lost due to these poor conditions add up to substantial and very real costs for our workforce and businesses,” said Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The report also noted road conditions could decline without additional funding at local, state and federal levels.

“Once again, California roads score badly in terms of pavement condition and the cost to motorists from driving on a broken system,” said Will Kempton, executive director of Transportation California. “We simply must invest more in fixing our transportation infrastructure. Failure to act will damage our economy and significantly reduce our quality of life.”

Next week, San Diego County voters will vote on Measure A, which would add a half-cent to sales tax to fund transportation and infrastructure projects around the county. Supporters of the measure say it will raise more than $300 million a year to repair roads and bridges, upgrade freeways and traffic control systems, fund pothole repairs and pay for environmental projects. Opponents argue that the tax increase will hurt working families. They say that too much money will be spent on mass transit and not enough on expanding freeways to cut traffic congestion for car commuters.