Sonoma County’s roads are making a comeback. Seven years ago, the Board of Supervisors effectively abandoned many of the county’s roads, concluding that they could afford to maintain only a small fraction of the 1,380 miles of pavement in unincorporated areas. The rest — more than 1,200 miles — would essentially have been allowed to fail. Along with the county’s reputation.
There still are more bad roads than good ones in rural Sonoma County. And the supervisors still have the same basic problem: Sonoma has more miles of roads but fewer residents than most other Bay Area counties, and gas taxes — which are supposed to pay for road repairs — are distributed primarily based on population, rather than road miles. That doesn’t add up well for Sonoma County. But beginning in 2012, the supervisors tapped the county’s general fund to augment road repair efforts. Since then, they have allocated $91 million, including a $28 million outlay that was approved Tuesday, to repair almost 400 miles of roads. There’s still a long way to go, but the road is getting smoother. Thumbs up.