Survey Results On How to Improve Sonoma County Roads

Apr 2, 2013

  Respondents to an online survey regarding the condition of Sonoma County’s roads, and possible ways to fund improvements confirmed the scope of the problem, but offered mixed reactions to a series of suggestions for funding improvements.A total of 624 anonymous Sonoma county residents responded to the survey, posted by Save Our Sonoma Roads.Sonoma County supervisors have been evaluating several taxes and other measures to expand the number of roads to be maintained in good condition. In this fiscal year, the supervisors authorized a one-time expenditure of $6.5 million to improve an additional 13.2 miles of roads (about $500,000 per mile). They also authorized another $1.5 million for public safety and other programs, including a community partnership program in which residents would pay for road repairs. “Nearly all respondents believe that roads are an essential county responsibility (94%) and that their current condition is bad-to-terrible (81%),” the group stated in a press release announcing the survey results. Bad roads were blamed for causing damage to their vehicles by 42% of the respondents, they added. “This implies that Sonoma County is failing to provide this essential responsibility,” the authors stated.Although there was near-unanimous agreement that road repair funding should be increased, and for “a comprehensive plan for how the road system will be fixed including identifying which roads will not be repaired, when it came to specific funding mechanisms, the results were more varied. “While only one-third of respondents support new taxes to fix roads in principle, support was much higher for specific taxes,” the SOSRoads statement continued.“These taxes include extending the Measure M ¼ cent sales tax (67% approved), increasing the tourist occupancy (63% approved) or a new $20 vehicle registration fee (57% approved).”However, almost 70% opposed assessing parcel owners for road maintenance taxes of $300-500. Many respondents also called for revising the allocation of existing county revenues instead of or before seeking additional funding from any source.The full survey  is available here.