That noise you hear as you drive over San Jose roads might be the jingle of a leaky cash register.
City leaders, faced with deteriorating infrastructure, want to increase road maintenance by a factor of five. Voters are likely to face new taxes to pay for the roadways, but resistance is expected. In the past, residents have proven unwilling to pay the exorbitant cost of road repair. Because the area of pavement is so large and impermanent, the expenses would recur over and over and over with no end in sight.
San Jose roads are consistently rated poorly in terms of quality. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has cited the city for having the worst roads in the region.
Currently, the city needs $250 million to repair its asphalt -- and that number is steadily climbing. The money simply isn't there, although Proposition B would raise a small sliver to pay for a few modest projects.
Meanwhile, in Antioch, Highway 4 is facing an expansion of its maintenance-heavy roads. A highway widening project has attracted low bids from contractors, which means that the city would save money in the short term. But as roadways grow, so too do maintenance bills. It's a lesson that San Jose is currently learning the hard way.