2018 California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report

2018 Report Confirms New Transportation Funding Will Improve Condition of California’s Local Streets and Roads

Cities and Counties Can Reduce Funding Shortfall for Local Transportation Network by $18.4 Billion Over Next Decade

The 2018 California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report was released on October 9.

The 2018 Report marks 10 years since the League of California Cities® and the California State Association of Counties®, in cooperation with California’s Regional Transportation Planning Agencies and the Rural Counties Task Force, began releasing the biennial study to assess the condition of the state’s local transportation network. The city street and county road system makes up 85 percent of California’s roadways and provides the backbone of the statewide transportation system.

The 2018 Report notes that for those who do not work with transportation issues every day, it can be difficult to understand how California’s cities and counties have reached the current situation they are in. The report outlines the following factors:

  • The population of California was approximately 30 million in 1990; it is now approximately 39 million, an increase of 30%. Along with with that increase in population are increases in traffic, housing and new roads.
  • The cost of road repairs and construction has steadily increased, at rates that are significantly higher than that of inflation. In the last 15 years, paving costs have increased much more than revenues. This can be attributed to the increasing cost of petroleum products which is directly correlated to asphalt costs as well as labor and equipment costs.
  • The State gasoline excise tax did not increase for more than 20 years and yet is the single most important funding source for transportation. Cities and counties have relied on a diminishing revenue source for a transportation system that is aging and deteriorating rapidly. The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB 1) provides the first significant new infusion of funding for transportation.
  • The increased fuel economy of vehicles as well as the popularity of hybrid and electric vehicles leads to decreasing gas consumption, and, in turn, to a reduction in gas tax revenue. Therefore, a long-term sustainable revenue source is needed.

Nichols Consulting Engineers (NCE), the engineering firm that conducted the study, found that with a new infusion of funding for transportation infrastructure provided by SB 1, cities and counties have already begun to slow the historical deterioration that has occurred on the local transportation network, and will likely reduce a predicted funding shortfall by $18.4 billion over the next decade.

The first Assessment Report in 2008 showed a statewide 10-year funding need for local streets and roads of $99.7 billion, with a shortfall of $71.4 billion. The report stated that unless the funding shortfall was addressed, California’s local streets and roads would deteriorate within 25 years to a “poor” condition. The condition of California’s local streets and roads has continued to deteriorate significantly since the initial study. On a scale of zero (failed) to 100 (excellent), the statewide average Pavement Condition Index (PCI) is now 65 (“At Risk” category).

                                     Average Statewide PCI for 2018


PCI of 65 looks like this

In 2008, at least $7 billion annually of new funding was needed to stop further decline of the local transportation system. In Nevada County, the 10-year funding need was $203.6 million, and the shortfall was $22 million.

Two years ago, the 2016 Assessment Report found that the statewide 10-year funding need for local streets and roads had grown to $102 billion and the funding shortfall was estimated at $73 billion. In Nevada County it was estimated that the 10-year need was $221 million, and only 20%-40% of the 10-year pavement needs would be met.

The most significant finding in the 2018 Assessment Report is with the infusion of new revenues from SB 1, cities and counties are beginning to stabilize the average condition of local roads and will be able to lift a significant percentage of the network from “at-risk” into “good” condition. The revenues from SB 1 annually provide over $5 billion to transportation, with approximately $1.5 billion going to the local street and road system. Without the new revenue, the statewide funding shortfall for pavement on local streets and roads will grow by $12.2 billion over the next 10 years. The percentage of local roads in “failed” condition will grow nearly 29%.

Following the implementation of SB 1, the statewide 10-year pavement funding need has been reduced more than 15% from $73 billion to $61.7 billion and in Nevada County the 10-year need is down nearly 14% from $221 million to $191 million.

The 2018 Assessment Report recommends that the state maintain all existing sources of revenue, with a significant portion focused on the preservation of the existing road network. 

Assessment Findings:

The local road network is stabilized with SB 1 funding.

If SB1 is repealed:

  • Average PCI will deteriorate from 65 to 57.
  • Unfunded backlog will grow to $46.9 billion in just 10 years.
  • More than one quarter of roads will be in poor/failed condition.
  • Similar conclusions for bridges, safety and other essential transportation components.

The full 2018 California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report can be found at


2018 California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report Highlights

What is the 2018 California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report about? Why is it important?

  • Starting with the first biennial report in 2008, the goal of the California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report has been to educate the public and policy- and decision-makers at all levels of government about the infrastructure investments needed to provide California with a seamless, safe, and efficient multi-modal transportation system.
  • The report includes an analysis of several funding scenarios.The 2018 report includes an analysis of the additional SB 1 revenues, and cost savings from sustainable paving technologies have been added to the analysis.
  • The findings can be used to develop solutions to address our critical infrastructure needs, understand trade-offs when contemplating policy and funding decisions, and the economic and public safety impacts of delaying local streets and road maintenance.

What are the key findings of the 2018 Report?

  • The additional revenue provided by SB 1 will slow the historical deterioration of the local transportation network.It also enables cities and counties to make safety improvements; expand pedestrian, bicycle and transit access opportunities; and reduce the funding shortfall.
  • The new revenue will stabilize the statewide average condition of local roadway pavements (measured on the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) scale of zero (failed) to 100 (excellent)) which is currently at a PCI of 65.
  • The study estimates that if the current funding levels are maintained over the next 10 years, almost two-thirds of the local street and road network will be in good condition.
  • It will reduce the funding backlog by $18.4 billion in the coming decade.

Pavement Condition Index 2008 and 2018

The condition of California’s local streets and roads has continued to deteriorate significantly since the initial study in 2008.  On a scale of zero (failed) to 100 (excellent), the statewide average Pavement Condition Index (PCI) is now 65 (“At Risk” category).  Even more alarming, 53 of 58 counties are either at risk or have poor pavements (the maps illustrate the changes in condition since 2008).

The report concludes that without the additional revenue the road conditions will deteriorate and the funding shortfall will grow.  Specifically, if cities and counties lose $1.5 billion in existing annual revenue over the next 10 years, the:

  • Funding shortfall will grow by $12.2 billion for pavement needs on the local street/road system alone.
  • PCI will drop from the current statewide average of 65 (at-risk) to 57, which is nearly in the poor category.
  • Percentage of local roads in failed condition will grow to nearly 29 percent.

As roadway pavement conditions deteriorate, the cost to repair them increases exponentially.  For example, it costs as much as 13 times more to reconstruct a pavement than to preserve it when it is in good condition.  To put it another way, 13 miles of roadway can be maintained in a Best Management Condition (PCI of 85) for the same cost as reconstructing one mile of failed pavement.

Who participated in the Study?

484 of California’s 482 cities and 58 counties participated in this study, and their responses provided data on more than 140,000 centerline-miles of local streets and roads.  This is 99 percent of the total local street network.

Who contributed financially to this study?

Appendix A of the 2018 report lists the agencies who have contributed financially to this study.

  • 57 of 58 counties
  • 315 out of 482 cities
  • 45 out of 48 California’s Regional Transportation Planning Agencies

Are state highways included in this study?

  • No. Only the local transportation system is included in this study.This system includes more than 143,000 centerline miles of roads owned and maintained by cities and counties.
  • Caltrans has a similar report on the state’s highways.It is located at:

Who should I contact for more information?

  • Daniel B. Landon, Executive Director, NCTC, (530) 265-3202,
  • Margot Yapp, Vice President, NCE, (510) 215-3620,
  • Kiana Valentine, Senior Legislative Representative, California State Association of Counties, (916) 650-8185,
  • Rony Berdugo, Legislative Representative, League of California Cities, (916) 658-8283,      

To download the report, go to:



State Transportation Leaders Expedite More Than $285 Million in SB 1 Road Repairs

SACRAMENTO—The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announced the fast tracking of “fix it first” construction work and increased road repairs across the state. Caltrans is able to jumpstart these road repairs thanks to the passage of the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (Senate Bill 1), recently passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.

Construction will begin this summer on 13 pavement projects across the state. Additionally, Caltrans has expedited the design of an additional 50 projects, which will also begin construction this fiscal year.

“This legislation provides for needed investments to fix California’s roads, and Caltrans is acting quickly to get to work,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “This summer we will deploy construction teams across the state to resurface highways, improve safety for motorists and start filling more potholes than ever before.”

Caltrans is expediting more than $285 million in road repairs across California months before the revenue from SB 1 even starts to accrue this fall. The road repair projects, will include repairing and resurfacing hundreds of miles of highways to extend the service life of California roads. Caltrans will also improve lane-line visibility and motorist safety with new striping. The new striping will include highly reflective and durable beads, making it easier to see lane demarcations in all weather conditions. In some locations, roads will get completely repaved.

The accelerated construction work is taking place in every Caltrans district in California, and in urban, suburban and rural areas:

  • Santa Barbara County: $4.4 million to remove and replace damaged concrete and striping, repave shoulders and ramps on nearly two miles of US Highway 101 in Buellton.  Construction on this project is scheduled to begin this summer.

Other projects scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2018 include:

  • San Luis Obispo County: $9 million to resurface more than eight miles of US Highway 101 between Paso Robles and Templeton.
  • Monterey County: $4 million to resurface nearly seven miles of State Route 68 between Monterey and the Laguna Seca Race Track.
  • San Luis Obispo County: $4.4 million to resurface nearly four miles of State Route 41 in Atascadero.
  • San Benito County: $1.4 million to resurface US Highway 101 at the State Route 129 and Betabel Road Interchanges.

SB 1 generates $54 billion over the next decade, split evenly between state and local investments, to fix transportation infrastructure across California. The $5.4 billion-a-year investment will cost most drivers less than $10 a month, and comes with strict new accountability provisions to ensure funds can only be spent on transportation.

SB 1 funds will enable Caltrans to fix more than 17,000 lane miles of pavement, 500 bridges, and 55,000 culverts by 2027. Caltrans will also fix 7,700 traffic operating systems, like ramp meters, traffic cameras and electric highway message boards that help reduce highway congestion. When this work is finished, 98 percent of pavement on state facilities will be in good or fair condition, up from 85 percent today.

In addition to the work Caltrans is expediting, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) and CalSTA are preparing to award SB 1 funds by spring 2018 to competitive transportation grant programs to improve California’s trade corridors, expand public transit systems, provide relief to congested commute corridors and provide state matching funds to help cities and counties build better communities.

“SB 1 dedicates transportation dollars to transportation purposes. With the law in place we can begin to put thousands of people to work rebuilding California and its local communities – that’s exactly what we’re doing,” said CalSTA Secretary Brian Kelly. “This investment creates jobs, improves roads and bridges and has strong public accountability.”

Until SB 1 was signed by Governor Brown earlier this year, California had not significantly invested in the state’s transportation infrastructure in 23 years; since then, California’s population has grown by eight million, with millions more vehicles and trucks on the state highway system. Californians also drive more than 350 billion miles a year – more than any other state.

Caltrans is committed to conducting its business in a fully transparent manner and detailing its progress to the public. For complete details on SB 1 visit