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City May Need $10 Billion for Repairs to Infrastructure

March 27, 2003|Patrick McGreevy | Times Staff Writer

After years of neglect, the city of Los Angeles may need to spend $10 billion in coming years to fix and modernize its crumbling streets, bridges, sewer lines and other infrastructure, officials said Wednesday.

City Engineer Vitaly Troyan offered the rough estimate based upon his knowledge of the backlog of repairs and the demands to widen streets and construct other improvements to accommodate the city's expanding population.

He told a new task force on the issue that the city has been unable to do all the repairs and improvement needed because of budgetary shortfalls he traced back to the tax-cutting Proposition 13 measure.

"For the past 20 years, we have been under-investing in our infrastructure," Troyan said after a closed-door briefing for the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Infrastructure.

Mayor James K. Hahn appointed the 38-person task force of private- and public-sector leaders to evaluate the status of the city's infrastructure, come up with a solid cost estimate and propose plans for funding the work.

"The task force will explore funding mechanisms for the maintenance and improvement of our infrastructure," Hahn said in announcing that the panel will be co-chaired by Troyan and Gene Hale of the Greater Los Angeles African-American Chamber of Commerce.

The city has money for some of the work, including much of the $500 million needed to improve the sewer system, according to Hilda Marella Delgado, a spokeswoman for Hahn.

City officials, however, said they have not identified where to get the $1.5 billion needed to repair the roughly 3,200 miles of streets that need resurfacing or major renovation.

Hahn has increased funding for street repairs, but the city is only able to repair 200 miles per year.

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