Study finds San Juan Bautista under-funding street maintenance

City scores 62 out of 100 on its pavement condition index.

San Juan Bautista needs to nearly double its current street maintenance funding in order to maintain its pavement condition index (PCI), according to a recent pavement management report. Though the City Council adopted the report at its May 19 meeting, Capitol Asset & Pavement Services (CAPS) presented its findings to the city in a June 16 meeting. 

Joel Conder with CAPS said while the city spends $176,000 on its streets annually, it’s not enough to maintain its average PCI of 62. The PCI is a numerical rating between 0 and 100 that indicates the condition of a street. The higher the rating, the better condition the street is in.

“I will tell you that is a low score,” Conder said of the average PCI. “The average in the Bay Area is usually in the mid 70s, so when I see any jurisdiction with a PCI in the 60s or lower, that sends out a lot of red flags. That means that those streets have not been maintained as they should be.”

San Juan Bautista receives 5% of revenue generated by Measure G’s second tier directed for local roads. Measure G is a 1% sales tax in San Benito County aimed to fund the Highway 25 expansion project and maintenance of local streets. Measure G will collect an estimated $485 million over 30 years, of which $216 million will be for local streets. 

CAPS presented four maintenance scenarios to the city: fixing all needs without fund restrictions; continuing current funding; maintaining current PCI average; and raising the PCI average by five points.

In order to maintain the current PCI over the next five years, San Juan Bautista would need to invest $322,201 annually in its 9.85 miles of streets. To raise its PCI average by five points in the same time frame, the city would need to spend $491,149 annually. 

“It shows right here that you have about $3.5 million today in deferred maintenance of your streets,” Conder said. “You are that far behind. So if you had $5.9 million over the next five years you can get your streets up into an acceptable condition category.”

According to the study, 47.6% of San Juan Bautista’s streets are in good condition with a PCI between 70 and 100. Those include streets near new developments such as Rancho Vista and Copperleaf. 

Additionally, 9.3% of the streets are in fair condition, 40.5% are in poor condition and 2.6% in very poor condition. Conder said cities similar to San Juan Bautista have a range between 15% and 20% of their streets in poor condition. 

While streets have a 20-year life cycle, Conder said it’s more cost-effective to do maintenance between year 10 and 15 because that is when the condition has a significant drop off. He said the cost to conduct preventive maintenance to a street during that time frame is about $6 per square yard, compared to $20 if it’s done later in the life cycle.  

“The pavement management system is really trying to get you to maintain roads that are in good condition,” Conder said, adding that the reasoning for that is that if a jurisdiction focuses on streets that are in better condition, it will keep them that way while it finds funds to repair the older streets. If a jurisdiction fixes the old streets first, the newer streets could be neglected and fall into the poor condition category.

One San Juan resident disagreed with the pavement management system and preferred to focus on the streets in the worst condition. Conder, however, said that option is not cost effective, but that CAPS could run a financial impact report on streets the city would prefer to focus on rather than following the program’s suggestions.


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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is BenitoLink Co-Editor and Content Manager. He joined BenitoLink as reporter intern and was soon brought on staff as a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. He is a San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily. He is a USC Center for Health Journalism 2020 California Fellow.