Federal Money vs. Potholes

Ever get the feeling that there are way too many potholes in San Jose? Despite all the stimulus money pouring into Silicon Valley for shovel-ready projects, the region still has the second-worst roads in the country, topped only by Los Angeles—though it is tied with San Francisco and Honolulu. A report just released by the National Transportation Research Group claims that 61 percent of Silicon Valley’s roads and highways are in a state of disrepair. Statewide, California’s roads are second only to New Jersey for the poor condition of its roads. Locally, the most pockmarked roads are Highways 87 and 237.

Will the roads be fixed? It’s unlikely, given the $11 billion now needed to fix roads, bridges, and highways across the state. The problem is that if nothing is done, congestion along the highways will only get worse, and the roads will continue to deteriorate. And this is already taking a financial toll. Some 67 percent of major roads in San Jose already experience major rush hour delays, at a cost of 53 hours per year per motorist. On the other hand, every $1 billion spent in road work could lead to as many as 27,800 jobs.

There is some good news too. The Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority has just announced that it obtained $32 million in state funding to rebuild the I-280/I-880/Stevens Creek Boulevard freeway Interchange, while the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has allocated $5 million to begin designing the Highway 101/Tully/Capitol/Yerba Buena. But this is still a drop in the bucket, compared to the scope of the problem.
Read More at KLIV.
Read More in the Business Journal.


  1. Maybe we could transfer the 15 SJ Dept. of Cultural Affairs employees to Public Works.  From what I’ve seen, 15 is about the right size for a crew… one guy with a shovel and 14 supervisors.

  2. What evidence is there to support the contention that rush hour delays are caused by the quality of the road surface rather than other factors (e.g., the number of cars on the road)?

  3. There has been a sign up on Alma by The Assyrian Church for about three months now proclaiming “America at Work” and touting the repair of Alma, which is falling apart between its beginning & the DMV.  The sign also has the ubiquitous Obama “O” to tell us who brought us this great news.  But in all these months not a lick of work has been done.

  4. When a very rich county with no snow has bad roads, you have to ask why.  There is more to this story than stimulus money.

    Do we spend less per lane mile than other counties?

    And why are the worst two roads two of the most recently built?  You would think that 237 and 87 would be almost like new, but that 101 and 880 would be the ones showing some age.

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