Comprehensive Street Repairs and Earthquake Retrofit Years Away in Los Angeles

By MICHAEL R. BLOOD, AP Political Writer | January 16, 2014

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was elected this spring after promising to fix the city’s battered streets, but he acknowledged Tuesday that his administration has made little headway paving long-neglected roads.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, the Democrat who took office July 1 said it could take a decade and up to $3 billion for significant improvements.

Garcetti also urged the Los Angeles Unified School District to push forward with a $1 billion plan to provide iPads to students; acknowledged that it has been difficult to retrofit buildings vulnerable to earthquake damage because of liability issues; and said restoring some cash overtime for police officers would be a priority in the next three years.

Regarding city streets, the mayor said some fixes have been made on major thoroughfares such as Ventura Boulevard but “the problem is so great … the average Angeleno isn’t seeing or feeling” the improvements, the mayor said.

He tentatively endorsed the idea of a ballot proposal to raise money for repairs. “If we want to do this, we have to pay for it,” he said.

Without a surge in funding – billions of dollars – the city that’s still struggling to shake off the recession would be able to do little more than patch jobs, the mayor said.

Los Angeles is infamous for its clotted traffic, and decades of neglect have left many city streets obstacle courses of potholes, cracked pavement and buckled sidewalks.

When Garcetti was sworn in in July, he said he would be a back-to-basics mayor and promised his administration would “fill the potholes, pave the streets, fix the sidewalks.”

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