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$1.6 billion needed to fix Sonoma County roads

More than $2.7 billion is needed to repair crumbling pavement on county roads and city streets over the next decade in Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties, a new report has found.

Overall road conditions in the three counties are among the worst in the state, the survey showed. The average score for Sonoma County puts it at the bottom of a group that includes most counties in the state where roads are said to be "at risk" of long-term failure.

Mendocino and Lake counties are ranked even lower, grouped among seven counties statewide with overall "poor" conditions in need of more immediate and expensive upgrades.

The findings are contained in a new report released Tuesday by groups representing California counties, cities and transportation agencies and interests.

The latest survey follows on similar reports issued in 2008 and 2010. The 2012 edition pegs the 10-year maintenance backlog for county roads and city streets statewide at $72.4 billion, up 2.7 percent from two years ago.

For Sonoma County, including city streets, the needed repairs amount to $1.6 billion. A separate Sonoma County estimate not included in the statewide report put maintenance needs on unincorporated roads over the next 10 years at $920 million.

The repair total countywide in Mendocino is $617 million; for Lake County it is $450 million.

Statewide, long-range repairs to local bridges and street infrastructure, including sidewalks and storm drains, push the total 10-year repair backlog to $107.2 billion, according to the report.

But with only $25.1 billion in anticipated long-range funding, local governments are facing a combined $82.4 billion shortfall between now and 2022, up 4.8 percent from two years ago, the survey found.

The new shortfall is the equivalent of a 56-cent per gallon gas tax increase, or an additional 76 cents a day for the average California driver, survey authors said.

While not advocating for any particular tax increase, the report concludes that without additional money, repair costs will soar and "California's local streets and roads will continue to deteriorate rapidly within the next 10 years."

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