County of Marin - News Releases - Roads and Capital Improvement Projects

For Immediate Release
March 17, 2015

County Plans for Infrastructure Upgrades

Supervisors review major capital improvements necessary in next few years

San Rafael, CA – Over the past eight years, Marin County has invested $50 million in roads to improve pavement quality and safety and has doubled its annual investments in facilities maintenance.  Additional investments will be needed to maintain current road quality conditions and launch several large and long-awaited capital improvement projects, such as a new roof on the Marin County Civic Center and fire station upgrades.

A view of the distinctive blue roof of the Marin County Civic Center.Raul Rojas, the County’s Director of Public Works, and his staff provided an overview of major capital facility, road and bridge projects during an informational workshop before the Marin County Board of Supervisors on March 17. The Board will consider one-time investments in next year’s budget. A series of public budget workshops is scheduled for April 21-23.

“Even during the economic downturn, we increased our investment in infrastructure,” said County Administrator Matthew Hymel. “We need to consider strategies so we don’t lose ground and we adequately maintain our public infrastructure.”

The County owns 44 occupied buildings that account for 1.4 million square feet of floor space. At least 28 of the structures are more than 20 years old and in need of significant repairs and upgrades. The Civic Center, a National Historic Landmark designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is 52 years old. Also, DPW oversees the maintenance of 420 miles of two-lane roads that graded out to a poor score of 60 (out of 100) in the most recent Pavement Condition Index (PCI). The department also has purview of 151 bridges.

Since 2006, DPW has resurfaced 50 percent of its roads (423 miles) and boosted the PCI from 50 to 60, but even 60 is only considered “fair.” DPW proposes to resurface another 31 percent of its most-used roads (261 miles) before 2020. The resurfacing campaign comes when the state highway user tax revenue has declined. The combination of lower gas taxes and less gas being purchased has led to a loss of $1.7 million in revenue compared to prior years.

“We need to work with the state and federal government to ensure that gas tax revenues are at least keeping pace with inflation rather than declining,” said Board President Katie Rice.

The County doubled its commitment to its Capital Improvement Program (CIP) in early 2008 and has since spent $3 million annually on general facilities and $1 million in accessibility/mobility upgrades. DPW has prioritized its targeted improvement projects and tackled large ones in phases to spread out the financing. Among the options to pay for major projects are multiyear set-asides, seeking grants, and considering debt financing for larger capital projects such as the Civic Center roof.  

Contact:

Raul Rojas
Director
Department of Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive
San Rafael, CA 94913
(415) 473-6530
CRS Dial 711
Email: Raul Rojas
www.marincounty.org/pw