FAIRFIELD — Dixon once again has the best-maintained roads in Solano County, with Fairfield coming in second.
Those results come from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s annual pavement report. The report rates the roads in Bay Area communities on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the best. It uses a three-year moving average.
Dixon had a 2012 score of 77, which ranked 18th out of 108 Bay Area communities. Fairfield’s score of 73 ranked 37th.
Fairfield’s pavement condition has come in for local criticism in recent years, including from city officials. The problem has been a shortage of money during the wake of the Great Recession, city officials have said. That’s led to potholes on various residential streets.
Still, Fairfield’s score is better than the Bay Area-wide average of 66. It’s remained the same for three consecutive years.
Mayor Harry Price praised the city’s Public Works Department.
“They do the best they can with the limited resources we have,” Price said. “It’s another outcome, unfortunately, of the continuing decline of infrastructure in the United States.”
Fairfield last year repaired the worst sections on Air Base Parkway, where pavement cracked. But that was basically a patch job. Price said he wants to see all of Air Base Parkway renovated.
Some streets have ripples and potholes and he worries how they will look after the winter rains, Price said.
“In the long view, we desperately need some help,” Price said. “It has to come from outside the city of Fairfield.”
Failing pavement is a safety issue, he said.
Rio Vista saw its score improve from 42 in 2010 to 47 in 2011 to 51 in 2012.
Rio Vista Mayor Norman Richardson said the city has been improving its water and sewer lines. After the lines get dug up and replaced, the street gets repaved, he said.
Also, he said, the county and city repaved Church Road between Highway 12 and Airport Way, which had become just about undrivable.
Among other local communities, rural Solano County had a score of 71, Vacaville 70, Suisun City 67, Benicia 60 and Vallejo 51.
Dixon, Fairfield, Solano County and Vacaville fall into what the Metropolitan Transportation Commission calls the “good” category and Suisun City, Benicia, Rio Vista and Vallejo in the “fair” category. This middle range offers acceptable ride quality, though pavement is getting to the point where it must be rehabilitated to avoid rapid deterioration, according to the agency.
Overall, the Bay Area’s 43,000 lane miles of local roads remain in what the Metropolitan Transportation Commission calls “fair” condition.
“For local streets and roads, the goal is to get every one of our cities and counties to a score of 75 or better,” Metropolitan Transportation Commission Chairwoman Amy Rein Worth said in a press release. “Most cities’ pavement maintenance needs have far outstripped available funds for many years, so holding the line at a regional average of 66 can be seen as a partial victory.”
She said cities that have passed transportation sales taxes for local streets see big improvements and mentioned El Cerrito as an example. El Cerrito’s score rose from 62 in 2010 to 84 this year.
No local community has a tax dedicated to street maintenance, though Fairfield, Rio Vista, Vallejo and Vacaville have taxes that contribute money to those cities’ overall budgets. Price wondered aloud how many more taxes Californians can pay.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.
Bay Area pavement quality
(Source: Metropolitan Transportation Commission)