The deterioration of the city of San Diego’s streets has been well documented. Now there’s a number on it.
San Diego’s streets need $377.5 million in repairs, according to a new report issued today by the City Auditor’s Office.
Here are some comparisons to put $377.5 million in context. That is:
• More than one-third the city’s $1.1 billion annual day-to-day operating budget, or nearly the annual cost of the Police Department.
• Almost three times the $133 million city spent on street repair in the last six years combined.
• $274.31 per San Diegan according to the most recent city population estimates.
We’ve written extensively about the city’s poor streets recently, including the tale of a Hillcrest man who decided to fill potholes near his house on his own.
The auditor’s report also tackles a hard-to-quantify problem with city’s street repair efforts. City departments and private contractors don’t talk to each other enough when fixing streets and underground electric, cable and water and wastewater issues.
For example, the auditor found that city departments and private contractors tore up nearly 20 percent of the streets it sampled within one-to-three years after they received repairs. The audit recommended better coordination between city departments.
“If we’re really going to have a successful streets program, you really have to look at it from a holistic point of view,” City Auditor Eduardo Luna said.
Mayor Jerry Sanders’ office has announced a reorganization of Streets Department that’s expected to occur Jan. 1. Luna said he expected the move, which he said was in response to the audit, would increase efficiency.
But the bigger problem city street repair faces is money. The report says the city needs $112.5 million immediately and then $74.9 million annually to maintain streets at average levels. As we’ve reported, the city hasn’t come close to spending that amount even with a recent infusion of bond money.
A $70 million-plus budget deficit continues to pressure funding for all city services, including street repair.