L.A. Poised to Dramatically Increase Funds for Street Repairs

LOS ANGELES – The L.A. City Council today approved much needed updates to a policy that is projected to deliver more than $100 million a year for street repairs and resurfacing, following leadership from Controller Ron Galperin and Councilmember Bob Blumenfield.

The City Council voted to modernize what is known as the Street Damage Restoration Fee, a formula where the City can recover the cost of damages from cuts and excavations utility companies make to City streets. In 2014, Controller Galperin released an audit that found the City had not updated its calculations of the Street Damage Restoration Fee since 2006.

As a result, the City was not recovering enough revenue to fix L.A.’s streets after undergoing cuts from utility companies.

The Controller’s audit and ongoing leadership led to a report from the Department of Public Works that found the City could recoup more of the City’s actual costs so it can fix and maintain more streets in a timely manner and with less burden on taxpayers. The updated fees are projected to increase funds for street repairs to $114.8 million next fiscal year, a dramatic increase compared to the $8.3 million as included in the 2017-18 adopted budget. Councilmember Blumenfield’s committee leadership led to policy changes crafted after numerous discussions with the Controller’s office, City departments, Shahin and Associates (the City’s consultant), and several public hearings, resulting in today’s Council approval.

“From potholes to pavement failure, Angelenos and their auto mechanics know too well the high cost of driving on L.A.’s streets,” L.A. Controller Ron Galperin said. “I am pleased the Council supported this common sense approach so we can reinvest in our infrastructure. The changes made to the Street Damage Restoration Fee – a direct result of my audit – are a great deal for taxpayers and ensures the City will be adequately compensated and use that money to repair and upgrade our streets. This is not just about more money for street maintenance and repairs, but also encourages utility improvements under our streets before instead of after a street has been resurfaced.”

“I am proud that the City Council, for the first time in over a decade, has adjusted and increased the SDRF fees to make sure that Angelenos aren’t footing the bill for utility companies,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, Chair of the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee (PWGR). “I commend Controller Galperin on his leadership and uncovering just how unfair this fee structure has previously been to taxpayers. As the Chair of PWGR, I know that utility services are vital to the health of our City, but we need a fairer system to ensure that our streets aren’t causing more damage to our cars and compromising the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists due to utility cuts – removing this tax break does just that.”

Follow L.A. Controller Ron Galperin at @LAController on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.