Central Coast

Dear Jon: Salinas city leaders have their eyes on fixing streets but that's it

Asphalt patches are being done with what money the city has

Driving on the streets of Salinas is like driving through canyons of pot holes. Patch work is being done but that's it. When's the last time you saw a newly paved city street in Salinas? Nora asked me, "Dear Jon, driving down Boronda Road in northeast Salinas so bumpy, can't they fix it?"

They can fix it; there's a "will" but the "way" is about money.

In the recent survey the city of Salinas did, infrastructure was high on the list of priorities. Meaning fixing the streets. The problem with the streets in Salinas is that they've let them go so far without repair that the cost to repave, not just throw some asphalt in the holes, is way out of the city's ability to pay.

So what do you do? You go out and look for grant funding.

As you may know, the city is most likely going to put the proposal for a 1 cent bump in the sales tax to 9.25 on the November ballot. But that won't help the streets, it's slated for public safety. So city leaders have to look to other funding sources.

As for Boronda Road, and let me interject here that Boronda is just a drop in the bucket of streets needing repair, grant funding is being sought. Gary Peterson, public works director with Salinas, tells me that they are seeking bids for engineering and negotiating land rights with adjacent land owners on Boronda right now.

The plan for Boronda Road is a major thoroughfare like Main Street with three lanes of traffic in both directions. That will surely solve the pothole problem with new pavement, but it takes time. The first phase of the project is expected to cost $5 million.

In an update to this story, Peterson tells me that they've reached a milestone on the Boronda project and they could start it next year. That's good news but time will tell if they can get all their 'ducks' in a row on this.

So in the meantime, you'll see potholes filled with asphalt and tar, more wear and tear on your car and congested traffic on Boronda Road in Salinas.

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