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Our Community Focus

Martinez Mayor’s Message

Sep 01, 2015 11:26AM ● By Jennifer Neys

Rob Schroder, Mayor of Martinez

by Rob Schroder, Mayor of Martinez

The single biggest concern I receive from residents is the poor condition of the streets and roads in Martinez. In fact, I would guess that every mayor in every city in the state would rank the crumbling infrastructure as the number one concern of the majority. Much has been posted on social media sites and most of that information is misinformation.

On August 17, by order of Governor Jerry Brown, the State Legislature convened a special session to discuss this problem and develop solutions. Ideas that have been floated include: a 10 cent increase in the gas tax (which has not been increased in over 20 years), a $100 registration surcharge on zero emission vehicles, a $35 increase in the vehicle registration fee for all vehicles, and a return on truck weight fees to the Transportation Fund. All of these items are in a bill currently being considered. 

Because there is so much confusion about paving and infrastructure repair in Martinez, City Manager Rob Braulik and his staff compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that I think will be very helpful in separating fact from fiction:

Q. What is the primary source of funds for roadway pavement repair and maintenance?

A. Fuel excise taxes or “gas taxes.”

Q. What are the state taxes per gallon on gasoline?

A. The state “swap” excise tax is 21.5 cents, the state base excise tax is 18 cents, and the federal excise

 tax is 18.4 cents. These taxes are added to the base market price resulting in the price we pay per gallon.

Q. Have these gas taxes kept up with inflation?

A. They have not increased since 1994, and yet the cost of maintaining and repairing roads has gone up considerably. 

Q. Have higher vehicle fuel economy cars impacted gas tax revenues?

A. Yes, they have reduced consumer gasoline consumption, resulting in less revenue to repair roads. 

Q. How can more revenue be generated to pay for road maintenance and repairs?

A. The state would need to move to a different method of revenue generation, which is a long-term

change. To address the immediate system needs, existing excise taxes could be indexed to inflation.

Q. How much has the city budgeted for road maintenance and repairs in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 and FY 2017 budget, just adopted in July 2015?

A. The city budgeted $500,000 in each for the next two years.

Q. How does this amount compare to the prior two-year budget, FY2014 to FY 2015?

A. $600,000 and $500,000, respectively.

Q.  What is the city road deferred maintenance and repair backlog?

A.  The current pavement maintenance backlog is $24 million (as of April 30, 2015’s Capital Improvement Program report). 

Q. What is the current annual maintenance and deferred rehabilitation dollars backlog?              

A.  According to the Pavement Condition Index ‘14 report published March 16, 2015, this total backlog is $69.5 million.             

Q.  Do most California cities have a deferred maintenance backlog of road projects?

A.  Yes. Nearly every California city has a backlog. For reference, the State of California backlog is $59 billion. 

Q. What streets are planned for rehabilitation over the next two years and what is the cost?

A. The FY 2016 and FY 2017 list of streets are found here: 

FY 2015/16

Center Avenue/Pine Street at Highway 4 – resurfacing                    $350,000

Morello Avenue at Highway 4 – resurfacing                                       $400,000

Morello Avenue - patch paving Arnold to Pacheco                            $75,000

Arnold Drive, Milano to Howe – patch paving / seal coat                   $500,000

Howe Road - patch paving                                                                 $75,000

Haag Road – reconstruction                                                                $25,000

C Street/Allen Street/Geneva Street – resurfacing                              $250,000          

Arreba Street – patch paving                                                               $25,000

Kingston Avenue/Jordan Court/Mountain View Drive area         

- patch paving / seal coat                                                                     $175,000

Woodglen Lane/Glenview Drive/Hale Court/Vista

Glen Place/Valley Glen Lane – patch paving / seal coat                       $100,000

Virginia Hills Drive/Waverly Drive/Donegal Drive

 – patch paving in preparation for seal coat                                          $250,000

Water repair pavement patches, various locations.                             $50,000

                                                                                                    Total  $2,325,000                                                                                                                                                                      

FY 2016/17

Castro Street – D Street to F Street / F Street / E Street                        $125,000

North Court Street / Joe DiMaggio Drive                                                 $175,000

Pine Street – Howe to Brown                                                                   $100,000

Virginia Hills Drive/Waverly Drive/Donegal Drive                                       $100,000

                                                                                                            Total     $500,000 

Q. When will the contract be awarded for FY 2016 pavement repairs?

A. It is anticipated to be awarded September 16, 2015 (except for the seal coat projects). These later projects will be awarded by June 30, 2016. 

Q.  Has city council allocated any additional funds for infrastructure investment?

A. The council allocated $1 million of General Fund dollars in FY 2015 for infrastructure. This $1 million could be used for road repair; as of this date, funds have not been programmed.

Q. Is there legislation that would provide cities with more funding for local road maintenance and          


A. Yes. Senator Jim Beall has introduced SB 16, which is still pending legislative action. The City of Martinez wrote a letter supporting its passage. It is estimated to provide approximately $1.6M in new annual funding for road maintenance projects.               

Q.  Are there other ways to pay for fixing roads other than gasoline taxes?

A. Yes. Some cities have passed parcel taxes and/or local over-ride sales taxes dedicated to roads. These

tax measures require a 2/3 voter approval, a high threshold. 

Q. If I wanted to read more about the city’s road network and various budget costs, what can I read?

A. Read the Pavement Management Program (P-TAP14 Budget Options Report) dated March 16, 2015, located under the engineering department’s paving page on the city’s web site,