Los Angeles Cannot Find Funds in Its $7-Plus Billion Budget to Care for Roads


Muh Roads!
Credit: Metro Transportation Library and Archive / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

If we need the government to pave the roads, then how come government can't actually seem to pave the roads?

It's a question to ask a lot in California, where citizens pay significant amounts of taxes, and yet the roads are often disasters. On the state level, the Reason Foundation notes, California spends more per mile than the national average for its highway system, yet ranks near the bottom of the list for road conditions.

On the local level, residents may see the same problems. Los Angles has high state and local taxes (sales tax in the city is 9 percent) and yet more than a third of the streets in the city's streets are get failing grades for road repair (the Los Angeles Times has an interactive map here).

What's the solution to the problem? Not shifting resources and rethinking priorities, obviously. Los Angeles just needs more taxes! From the Los Angeles Times:

One year after Los Angeles voters rejected a sales tax increase, the City Council is looking at trying again — this time by tying the money to the repair of the city's deteriorating network of streets.

Two high-level City Hall policy advisors recommended Tuesday that lawmakers place a half-cent tax hike on the November ballot that would generate $4.5 billion over 15 years. The proceeds, they said, would pay to fix the most severely damaged roads and sidewalks.

Passage of a tax could add momentum to Mayor Eric Garcetti's "back to basics" campaign, which focuses on upgrading basic services. The proposal also could help city leaders resolve a potentially costly disability rights lawsuit filed by wheelchair users who say buckled sidewalks block their access.

That last tax that failed required a simple majority. This one would require a two-thirds majority to pass, so to say its chances are as rough as pushing a stalled car up one of the city's pothole-covered hills is an apt if rather labored simile. Why should anybody trust the city would spend its current revenue for road repairs when it's not currently spending its revenue for road repairs?

Jack Humphreville, who writes about L.A.'s budget for the website CityWatch, said city elected officials have used money that should have gone to road repairs to fund excessive employee salaries and benefits. "They were grossly negligent over the last two decades in maintaining our infrastructure," Humphreville said.

Gary Toebben, president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, said his organization is concerned about the burden a new tax could place on businesses and consumers. Toebben said he also wanted to know whether the Metropolitan Transportation Authority would pursue a separate sales-tax hike for transit services in 2016. "If you keep adding taxes, eventually you reach a point where people say that's just too much," he said.

And let's not forget, the city encouraged voters to pass a referendum that caps the number of legal medical marijuana shops in town and is planning to shut hundreds of potential taxpaying businesses down.

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  1. They already spent the money on license plate tracking.

  2. Broads!

  3. “If they can’t drive on the roads they’ll be begging to fund our high speed choo choo!! We can’t lose!!!”

    /Cali Logic

  4. Government never contracts.

    I tell TEAM RED that every day here. Yet they go on like a sea flounder hoping that TEAM RED will cut something.



      I read it in a link you posted.


      1. When you are floundering do you list more in a certain direction?

        1. About 8% to the left.

    2. We like the new and improved handle….Putins Buttplug! Classy!

      1. Sorry to disappoint but I prefer to remain safely esconsed in Sista Sarah’s firm rectum.

        1. ensconce
          verb (used with object), ensconced, ensconcing.
          to settle securely or snugly: I found her in the library, ensconced in an armchair.
          to cover or shelter; hide securely: He ensconced himself in the closet in order to eavesdrop.

          (left off a letter – FUCK ME!)

          1. Whatever…..Putins Buttplug!

    3. So the solution is… vote for more lefties? Capitulate on the sales tax? Pray they actually spend it on teh roadz, that they won’t demand another hike in another few years, that this time, things will be different?

  5. So I’ve been absent all day, has the commenting situation improved?

    1. It’s hard to say.

      This afternoon, it finally started working for me…

    2. Maybe.

    3. Seems to be working better. But it might no survive tonight’s Independents thread since the show will have Belle Knox, the Duke porn star, as a guest.

      1. The UCI parking situation certainly hasn’t.

        1. I’ll be back for one class next quarter which means I’ll be finding that out first hand.

          I’m trying to do the math on if a parking pass would be cost-effective.

          1. Well, as a commuter from LA, a parking pass is mandatory, and I just go with the $198 (per quarter) commuter pass and park in the social science structure. Also, welcome back! What will you be taking? I’ll be there Tuesdays and Thursdays this spring.

            1. I’ll be commuting from North OC 3 nights a week, Monday-Wednesday-Friday to take the last stats class I need for my degree. By using AccessUCI I saved $2,000 since I ‘only’ have to pay $1,100 out of pocket, which I can afford.

              It’s only an hour class so I can get the time I need for just $2. I didn’t know a quarter pass was $198 so it’s definitely cheaper just to pay each time.

              1. In your case, yeah, it’s cheaper. I don’t even want to think about what public transit trek I’d have to embark on to get to UCI from South LA. I’d rather take the CA high speed train to Mordor.

      1. A few years ago, one tried to chew through the screen on my patio door. I cut his tree down.

        1. Do they make that in full auto?

    4. Is your posting here an improvement? :-p

  6. Clearly the solution to LA’s fiscal woes is more immigration from south of the border.

    (Mein Gott, this is the first comment that has worked for me in two days.)

  7. OT (if it works):
    Cheer Leaders lose, must stick with the contract they agreed to!
    “Feds end Raiderette wage probe with no action”…..332287.php
    Hint: If you don’t like your job, find another.

    1. Love those comments. Apparently, voluntary employment is exploitative, and employers exempted from minimum wage laws needn’t worry about competing for labor because exploitation.

      But the suit raises the question, why do these women choose to cheerlead if it’s largely unremunerated work?

      1. …”why do these women choose to cheerlead if it’s largely unremunerated work?”

        I’m guessing that most are aspiring actresses and the exposure is worthwhile.
        I’m also guessing the suit was brought by those for whom it didn’t quite work out.

      2. In fact, there it is in the comments:
        “NFL cheerleaders do the job for the exposure and the professional phots and promo materials. It is defined in the contract as part of their comp and they have unrestricted access and license to use anything with their image on it. The material generated during an average NFL season would cost well over $100K if the women had to pay for it themselves.”
        So, the law suit was bullshit anyway.

      3. “The people I’m suing have a big pile of money, and dammit, that’s just not fair!”

        Some months back on a football forum some posters were suggesting that the NFL should just unilaterally put more money aside for health care for retired players, and the above was the argument I used. Boy did it raise a shit storm. 🙂

  8. Ever since LA was taken over by libertarians, their road condition has really deteriorated.

    1. I throw all my dead and near dead orphans into potholes to help the situation but am I ever recognized for my civic generosity?

  9. Two high-level City Hall policy advisors recommended Tuesday that lawmakers place a half-cent tax hike on the November ballot that would generate $4.5 billion over 15 years. The proceeds, they said, would pay to fix the most severely damaged roads and sidewalks.

    Or that money will just be spent on something else and ten years from now politicians will claim they need another tax hike to fix the still busted roads.

    1. This. I love the unstated premise of begging taxpayers for more money: “We blew everything you’ve given us already, we’ve demonstrated ourselves incapable of prioritizing, and the conditions of your roads are less important to us than paying our unions’ lavish benefits. We aren’t even promising this will be the last time we dip deeper into your wallets. But if you’d just ante up a little more we’ll turn this thing around and totally won’t spend it on a vanity project like a hilariously expensive train.”

  10. God ain’t this the truth, some parts of South Central (slauson ave, specifically) are absolute shite. Aviation, between century and imperial, will destroy your suspension. We don’t even get the road wrecking weather that like they do back east, and our roads are still crap, it’s pathetic. I also realize that most of you will have no idea what streets I’m talking about.

    1. Get our of the car and cut off your slauson.

  11. Thomas Friedman: The Dipshit Who Keeps on Dipshitting.

    This is a grand bargain on energy that would advance our growth, national security and climate policy. If paired with similar efforts by our NATO allies, it would, in time, sharply reduce Putin’s ability to blackmail his neighbors, using energy. It would also protect Americans from price shocks, as both the sun and the wind are free, make our farmers, our coastal cities and our public health system much more resilient and tilt our energy policy toward exploiting our advantage ? technology ? rather than oil.

    The entire bolded section is staggeringly moronic.

    I would hate to see Obama spend the next two and a half years just counting sign-ups. He needs to recognize that Putin’s Crimea adventure has created the opportunity for a legacy project of moving America into a clean energy future ? a move that would make us stronger, Putin weaker and the world safer.

    Thomas Friedman: No matter what happens in the world, it’s proof we need a shitload of solar panels.

    1. One good way to hurt Putin is “drill baby drill” and export a lot of fracked gas, but I doubt Friedman would recommend that.

    2. I’m not so bothered by the existence of Thomas Friedman. Nitwits like him are inevitable in our world, and left to his own devices he won’t harm anyone.

      The idea that there are people who listen to Thomas Friedman and put serious thought into weighing the wisdom of his ideas, however, fucking terrifies me.


        Boom. I just fixed America’s energy policy.

        1. Actually, sun and wind are free. As are gas, oil, coal, uranium, wood, and buffalo chips.

          The cost comes in extracting/gathering them and converting them into usable forms of power.

    3. When is anything not another opportunity for econazis to shill for some wildly expensive “free” energy alternative? Earthquake in LA? END FRACKING. Hurricane reaches NYC? GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATE CHANGE/POLAR BEARS. Dead eagles? WINDMI- er, actually, they were already dead when we put them up.

      1. I think you’ll find that the turbines simply liberated the eagles from the work of flying.

        1. Yeah, and then they returned to the earth from whence they came. Environmentalism full circle!

    4. We can get rid of fossil fuels. All it takes is a solar array the size of North Dakota or a wind farm the size of South Carolina.

      Nothing says environmentally friendly like covering a landmass the size of a large state with mirrors.


      1. I just really love Thomas Friedman’s reflexive need to make every single world issue into a diatribe on the carbon tax.

        To frighten Putin, we should raise the gas tax!

        The Boston Marathon Bombing reminds me, we really need a carbon tax!

        He writes one of these articles every month or so, and it’s always hilarious.

          1. Writing crap like that pays enough for a spread like that?!

            1. He married money. His wife is an heir to a shopping mall fortune.

          2. Are you shitting me? Is that really his house?

            1. It’s true.

            2. As Instapundit said, “I’ll believe Global Warming is a problem when the people telling me it’s a problem start acting like it’s a problem.”

              1. Lord at War|3.19.14 @ 10:07PM|#
                “As Instapundit said, “I’ll believe Global Warming is a problem when the people telling me it’s a problem start acting like it’s a problem.””

                At least once a year, sometimes more, I end up taking the PCH from Ventura to LAX; through Malibu.
                Wanna guess how many ‘distressed’ properties are for sale as a result of rising sea levels?
                Ha and ha!

      2. All it takes is a solar array the size of North Dakota[.]

        Are you sure? I did the math once (possibly incorrectly) and came up with numbers that were more like 40% of the area of the 48 contiguous states.

  12. Rand Paul find a bizarre amount of support at California-Berkley.

    That’s weird. What could have resulted in some people at Berkley supporting a Republican?

    What’s this…

    31 women accuse UC Berkley of botching sexual assault investigation, claim it has a ‘pervasive culture of sexual violence.’

    I should have known. First you start committing rampant sexual assaults, next you start voting Republican.

    1. The butthurt in the HuffPo comments are delicious since Rand had the audacity to bring up the racist history of the NSA and other intelligence agencies that spied on civil rights leaders.

      I’m waiting for Raw Story to run with it so I can see how those lunatics react.

  13. If LA has a government then who will build the roads?

    1. That porn star should lead to some spirited discussion.

    2. Tonight, I’m starting out with a Corona Familiar with dinner, and then I’m going to try Sam Adams’ Rebel IPA. If that isn’t any good, I’m switching to my backup, Lagunitas Maximus.

  14. Have I missed it, or has there not been a Dependents thread yet?

    1. Speak of the devil! I comment asking about it, and it shows up!

  15. How the hell can you not maintain the roads in a rich city where it never snows or freezes, and hardly ever rains?

    1. I’m wondering that myself. I know our roads are craptastic because the plows handily undo every repair done to the roads the previous summer. Everyone knows it’s a jobs program. The DOT patches em in the summer and then tears them up in the winter.

      1. Aren’t there enough windows to break?

  16. On the state level, the Reason Foundation notes, California spends more per mile than the national average for its highway system, yet ranks near the bottom of the list for road conditions.

    But that has absolutely nothing to do with having the highest U.S. minimum wage and rampant unionism.

  17. Were any of the existing taxes supposedly dedicated to road maintenance when they were proposed?

    1. Politicians always find ways to undo that. In Maryland, the roads and road improvements that were supposed to be built using a dedicated tax were either built with tolls or not built at all.

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