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America's roads are falling apart

America's roads are falling apart

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And California's are the worst -- despite the lack of ice and snow.

California may be home to the Tesla, one of the most glamorous electric car on Earth, but it also has the worst roads and highways in a country where roads and highways are falling apart, according to a report released this month by TRIP, a non-profit in Washington, D.C., whose backers include insurance companies, labor unions and other businesses with an interest in transportation.

TRIP says that about a quarter of major U.S. urban roads are in sub-standard or poor condition, while only a third are in good condition. State budget deficits, the end of federal stimulus money and the lack of a long-term federal surface transportation program from Congress may make the bad roads worse.

Just about every major city in California made TRIP's list of top 20 worst urban areas in the nation for roads -- starting with San Jose, which is home to Silicon Valley. San Jose residents also pay the most to maintain their cars -- $756 per year, on average, compared to an average of $402 nationally.

One thing that's tearing up our roads is trucks. Vehicle travel was up 39 percent between 1990 and 2008, but truck travel was up by 49 percent. Government isn't spending enough to maintain and repair roads -- $14 billion per year, compared to the $26.6 billion that the Department of Transportation says is required to stay even and the $39 billion needed to get ahead. Such efforts would also create jobs.

TRIP suggests that roads be fixed while they're still relatively healthy, which means better construction, better materials and more preventive care.

Here's their list of 20 worst cities for travel by car. Get the full report here

Rank

Urban Area

Pct. Poor

1

San Jose, California

64%

2

Los Angeles, California

63%

3

Honolulu, Hawaii

62%

4

Concord, California

58%

5

San Francisco-Oakland, California

58%

6

New Orleans, Louisiana

55%

7

New York-Newark, NY/NJ

53%

8

San Diego, California

50%

9

Indio-Palm Springs, California

47%

10

Baltimore, Maryland

46%

11

Kansas City, Missouri / Kansas

45%

12

Riverside-San Bernardino, California

44%

13

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

42%

14

Sacramento, California

42%

15

Omaha, Nebraska

42%

16

San Antonio, Texas

39%

17

Detroit, Michigan

38%

18

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

37%

19

Tulsa, Oklahoma

36%

20

Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

34%

(The picture is of a pothole on Second Avenue in New York City -- another city that's on the list.)

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Deborah Gage

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Deborah Gage has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, Minnesota Public Radio, Baseline and various magazines and newspapers. She is based in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure