City on Track to Fix Pothole Problems? - NBC 7 San Diego

City on Track to Fix Pothole Problems?

The city is way behind on its regular street maintenance and says it'll soon fix the pothole problem.



    City on Track to Fix Pothole Problems?
    A filled pothole gives drivers a smooth ride. City says the are trying to fix their street maintenance backlog.

    After years of being too poor to fix its "pothole issues", the city of San Diego is finally getting flush with cash.

    But critics say it's not spending that money efficiently enough.

    Even the most conservative estimates of San Diego's "deferred maintenance" backlog -- decaying streets, storm drains, buildings and park facilities -- total nearly $3 billion.

    It's taking some time to catch up with.

    Are the City's Pothole Issues Over?

    [DGO] Are the City's Pothole Issues Over?
    The most conservative estimates to fix the city's maintenance put the bill at nearly $3 billion.
    (Published Monday, Oct. 3, 2011)

    Especially where the rubber meets the road.

    Repair crews have fallen way behind schedule, fixing roadways that the city targeted for repairs as part of a $100 million 'infrastructure' bond issue two years ago, while spending $7 million a year in interest payments.

    More than half the scheduled work is still undone.

    San Diego also could tap a portion of its current $62 million TransNet tax fund account, but doesn't have the necessary "shovel-ready" projects.

    "The city has a lot of overlapping departments, a lot of bureaucratic processes, Very poor project management and project planning skill-sets," says Councilman Carl DeMaio.  "And those issues have to be addressed."

    Last month, for the benefit of news cameras, DeMaio pitched in on a street-fix project in Rancho Bernardo.

    At a news conference an hour later, another mayoral candidate -- Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher -- pointed out a blighted stretch of Pacific Coast Highway, saying it's an economic and "quality of life" issue.

    "An analysis ranks San Diego as having one of the highest cost of vehicle repair of any city in the country," Fletcher said in an interview Monday. 

    "Over $600 a year, San Diegans are having to spend to repair their own cars," Fletcher added.  "So it not only affects your job, it affects your pocketbook."

    City officials say TransNet street-construction funds will be re-directed to ready-to-go repair projects, with future road building allocations backfilling those amounts.

    Plans are in the works for another $500 million in borrowing.

    But with infrastructure-upgrading work so far behind, it's now about project management as much as money.

    "They think they're on the right track in terms of addressing the contracting issues, some of the design issues they had in the first (bond) go-round," says Voice of San municipal government specialist Liam Dillon, who'll post the findings of his extensive investigation into the problems Sunday evening on the VoSD site.

    "That being said," Dillon cautioned in a Monday interview, "the city auditor believes they're not quite there yet."