The Short Story of Where Orinda and its Roads Stand Today

Half of Orinda's roads were in a Poor to Failed condition; below a rating of PCI-50 (Pavement Condition Index), before new taxes were voted for starting in 2012.  Orinda is one of the wealthiest communities in the Bay Area and yet had some of its worst roads.  It had been grappling with the issue since the City formed an Infrastructure Committee in 2004 which released its report in 2006 detailing the cost to bring our roads and associated storm drains up to reasonable standards. 

Two $60 million bond measures in 2006 and 2007 failed to pass, by tiny margins.  However, a $10 million sales tax passed in 2012, a $20 million bond passed in 2014, and a 25 million bond passed in 2016, all dedicated to improving Orinda's 64 miles of publicly maintained residential streets.

A report by the City's Infrastructure Commission (CIOC) in March 2016 updated the total cost to bring all roads in Orinda up to Good condition (above PCI 50) by the end of 2022: $88 million. This includes $74 million for road repair and $14 million to rehabilitate the storm drains running under or adcent to the roads.  The report also stated that it would cost another $3 million per year to maintain the roads at that level after they have been repaired (which has been increased to 3.5 million).

The majority of Orinda's 93 miles of publicly-maintained streets should be improved to acceptable standard by 2019.

But there remain two major issues the city has not addressed:

1) The city only has $1 million in its annual budget for maintenance while a 2016 engineer's report stated that the city should spend $3.5 million to adequately maintain its 93 mile road system.

2) There are 29 miles of residential streets that the city currently does not pay to maintain even though the residents on those streets pay all the same taxes as the residents who live on the city's publicly-maintained roads.  This "Tale of Two Citys" will need to be addressed if the city hopes to pass new taxes to pay for the maintenance of the city's road system.