San Jose’s Roads in Serious Trouble

San Jose’s roads are the worst in the county and among the bottom third for cities in the Bay Area. And it appears they’re only going to get worse.

A report given to the City Council from Transportation Director Hans Larsen says San Jose is currently able to fund just 15 percent of the nearly billion dollars it will take to maintain roads over the next decade. That will result in an $860 million backlog.

In response, the council is considering a parcel tax that would ask homeowners and businesses to contribute $400 a year over the next decade. State law requires a two-thirds voter approval on a taxes dedicated to specific needs, such as street maintenance.

Larsen says the city’s pavement condition is currently rated “fair,” which is the worst rating in Santa Clara County. Over the next 10 years. that condition is expected to be downgraded to poor. According to the Pavement Condition Index (PCI), San Jose has a rating of 64. In comparison, San Francisco (PCI 63) and Oakland (PCI 58) have similar pavement conditions.

Click Here to Read the Full Report on San Jose’s Roads.


  1. Refreshing compared to most other writers. I’ve found out this post very informative. I hope the authority of San Jose roads will soon solve this trouble. Thanks for posting when you get the chance to, I’ll be sure to keep visiting! smile
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  2. I, for one, am unwilling to pay a large parcel tax for what should be a very basic city service.  Look around at adjacent municipalities – Campbell, Santa Clara, Morgan Hill, etc. – and you’ll find that their roads are in quite acceptable condition.

    Had our Mayor/City Council not pissed away billions of dollars over the years, we could also enjoy driving on our roads.  What’s done is done but I think the solution to our dilemma is fairly simple.

    The entire annual City budget approaches 3.5 billion dollars and is comprised of three funds: General, Capital and Special.  Our politicians would have you believe that only the General Fund can be tapped for improving our roads.

    In most instances, resurfacing extends the useful life of a road by 15 – 20 years, or even longer.  Therefore, I maintain that much of the road improvement cost could actually be classified as Capital expense.

    Yet I’ve seen absolutely no interest or action on the part of our City Council or City Manager/staff to investigate or implement this approach.  If they are unwilling to do this, I would be quite happy to replace them with people who are actually interested in serving citizenry.

  3. absolutely correct greg , nobody especially the Mayor or Council will ever educate the public about the Three Funds ( General , Capital , Special ) they only talk about the general fund so most residents think the General fund is the total budget .  Most residents would be surprised to learn that this City has a AAA credit rating , witch translates into at least $ 2billion dollars in reserve. Yet the Mayor would have you believe that the city is in financial crisis , only to push his agenda of “breaking the unions” and all city employees . No audit on the incubator programs , gee thats hard to believe. take a look at who voted for no audit( Mayor and most of council) . take a look at who sat on Redevelopment board (Mayor and most of Council) Redevelopement agency borrows money from general fund but doesnt pay it back. all redevelopment debt transferred to General fund . Parcels of land to be sold to Lew Wolfe at 1/4 its value. Illegal Ballot Measure created by and backed By Dishonorable Chuck Reed will be tied up in court for years and cost millions upon millions to the residents of San Jose. people need to educate themselves about the issues that are killing this once proud city

  4. Yes our roads stink , but there our bigger problems in this City such as No new Jobs, Way too much low-income housing,Public Safety stretched far beyond capablities ,  unaccounted funds diverted by Mayor/Council with no audit pending, City Manager who pays nothing into her 401k(sj residents pay her portion) . bad roads are’nt even in the top five worse problems facing this outhouse of a city. Lets stop the corruption in cityhall first

  5. I agree with Greg. Another parcel tax? No way.

    Our City, starting at the top with Mayor Reed, needs to reexamine it’s priorities. In terms of relative priority, road maintenance should be way up here (I’m holding my hand up over my head) while baseball stadiums should be way down here (I’m bending over- the standard pose of taxpayers- and holding my hand 2 inches off the ground)

  6. I wonder how much road improvement would have been accomplished with the money squandered on the empty Police Palace built in South San Jose. I also wonder what the savings where calculated from opening this precinct. No, I do not mean the usual doctored up analysis to justify this costly capital “improvement” to appease SJPD. We already know the net impact on the Cities budget by the New City Hall and the real reasons it was built.

    • The substation and fire houses were built with money mandated by voter approval.  It could not be spent on anything else.  Just like our new libraries, park improvements and Happy Hollow remodel.

      The money that is “squandered” is mostly RDA and “low income housing”.

  7. Every 6 months City Hall tells residents bad news to see if maybe the voters are craze enough, dumb enough or naive enough to vote new city taxes after Council and over paid city administrators gave away

    – $2 million to mismanaged REP,
    – $12 million baseball stadium land discount to Lew Wolff,
    – $6 million to Tom McEnery,
    –  millions more for money losing non profits – Mexican Heritage, Hayes Mansion, History San Jose , etc ,
    – money losing golf courses, political connected developers, corporations asking for tax handouts,
    – millions more overbuilding underused airport,
    – new unused Southern Police Station,
    – on, on and on millions and millions taxes given away while city services are cut again and again


    If voters could they would fire many Council incompetents, City Manager and 1/2 City Department Heads for gross mismanagement and spending millions on unneeded services, feel good projects, political payback and giving away taxes to undeserving individual and groups that would be closed down without millions in city tax subsidies

    City asks taxpayers for more taxes

    – latest was failed public safety tax

    – now city street $400 per home tax,

    What is new city tax, fee or user charge is next?

    Don’t worry Council Clowns with City Clown Manager will think up many more new taxes and raise existing fees and charges


  8. Our roads are well traveled, repairs and bottlenecks should be dealt with in the Bay Area. Does it really make much sense to spend 100 billion on a speedy train that few Californians will use while our roads remain in such state of disrepair and used heavly? Problem with trains are they don’t go where you work, shop or enjoy. I watch a commuter train on my way to work and most of the seats are empty. The stop near my home has barely 10 people waiting most days it is less. The provided parking and ride lot is not even one quarter full. While the road I’m moving on is normally full. Californians have made it clear what is prefered. Concentrate on that.

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