Fixing the $20m road renewal gap

The city has made progress on local road renewal but an overall funding gap of $20 million in annual road repair needs remains.The city currently manages approximately 1600 lane km of roads, classified as arterial, collector and local roads depending on the amount of traffic they carry. In the last term, council allocated $3 million annually in cash funding to the city’s shave and pave program. The program allows for resurfacing to maintain the life of a road, and avoid more costly repairs later from full reconstruction if the road is allowed to deteriorate. Resurfacing is the least expensive way to extend a road’s life, followed by minor reconstruction which typically costs 3 times as much, and finally full reconstruction which costs 10 times that of resurfacing.

As a result of the shave and pave program, there has been significant progress in the local road Pavement Quality Index from 67.5 to 72.1. However, the condition of arterial roads continues to decline (arterial roads are major through roads that are expected to carry large volumes of traffic.)

In the short term, staff recommended redirecting $1 million from the local roads resurfacing budget to arterial roads resurfacing.  However, there is still a projected overall roads funding gap of approximately $20M from 2016-2020.

Staff will come back to Council in the Spring with a long term financing plan to address the gap between road repair work needed and funding. A short term funding infusion of $20M over the next 5 years could help repair roads before they deteriorate to the point where more costly repairs are required.

Overall, staff have calculated the accumulated infrastructure backlog of “now needs” for all city assets (roads, buildings, parks) is approximately $147.8M (2013) and that average annual ongoing renewal requirements are $69.4M over the next 60 years.

In 2013, council approved a long range capital renewal financing plan that is predicted to eliminate the backlog and funding gap in 20 years, and provide ongoing stable funding to the capital maintenance and renewal program. An additional levy of 0.75% will be added between 2015 and 2022, reducing to a 0.5% from 2023 to 2033 to assist with the infrastructure funding gap.

Read the staff report on road repair here: Development and Infrastructure Committee, January 19, Item 4, CW-01-15

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

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