Q Any clue as to who is responsible for the paint that has been spread on the Bay Area freeways and streets? I'm a chauffeur and drive 300 to 400 miles per day from San Francisco to Gilroy and throughout the East Bay. I have noticed nearly a dozen spills of paint, primarily on Highway 85, Interstate 280, I-380 and Highway 92. There are also spills on some city streets.

If I remember correctly, several years ago a man was caught intentionally dumping paint in a similar style. It really bothers me to see this road graffiti.

C. Woodworth

San Jose

A I'm not sure where the paint is coming from, but Dan-the-Santa-Clara-County-Man has noticed the "paint bombs" for several years and believes there are a couple of explanations: "Either pranksters are throwing paint out the back of their vehicle to see the paint explode as it hits the pavement, or paint contractors are being sloppy, perhaps negligent, with their paint and it is falling off vehicles. Either way, it causes impacts and costs for public agencies that must try to clean it up, and it introduces additional risk for drivers, as it obscures lane lines, and can create slippery spots for motorcycles.

"Whoever does chuck this paint out on the road needs to know they are possibly risking another person's life with their silliness or sloppiness. Is that something they are prepared to live with?"

Q Say it ain't so, Gary. San Jose recently repaved a huge section of Hillsdale Avenue between Meridian Avenue and the Capitol Expressway-Auto Mall area.

My question:

Who ultimately makes these decisions to repave certain roads? I ask because this stretch of Hillsdale, as far as I can tell (not claiming to be an expert), is in fine shape and probably many years away from needing repaving.

So why waste time and money repaving a road that does not need it when there are many other San Jose streets in far worse shape? For instance, Foxworthy Avenue has been in horrible shape for years and would require a lot less material to fix. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to these money-wasting decisions our city makes.

Ian McArthur

San Jose

A Hmmm. You are not the only one asking.

Q There are frequently San Jose paving projects that I scratch my head and say, "Why here?" For example, Hillsdale Avenue between Cherry Avenue and Almaden Expressway. The paving here wasn't bad, certainly not as bad as a nearby street that is in dire need of paving, and that's Foxworthy Avenue between Meridian and Leigh avenues. Drive it and you'll see.

Victor Brancati

San Jose

A City officials offer another view, although they understand why you would rate Hillsdale as a road not needing an upgrade.

The city just completed a slurry seal on Hillsdale between Meridian and the expressway, and it admits that Hillsdale was in good shape with a pavement rating of 74 (good) compared to 51 for Foxworthy (barely above poor).

A slurry seal is a preventive maintenance step to keep it in good shape so that it lasts longer. This is the least expensive process and can save up to 10 times the cost of letting a street deteriorate to a level that will require more extensive rehab work. For example, the average cost of street work is $5 per square yard for preventive maintenance like a slurry seal, compared to $20 for light resurfacing, $40 for heavy resurfacing and $140 for reconstruction.

Added Heloisa-the-City-Paving-Guru:

"If we don't try to maintain the streets that may appear in better condition, this will allow them to deteriorate at a more advanced rate and wind up requiring much more work, requiring much more money to fix them. Performing preventive maintenance on these streets is actually the more fiscally responsible solution."

Foxworthy was last slurry-sealed in 2002, is in need of heavy resurfacing and could be in the next group of streets that would get done if funding becomes available. The city needs $100 million a year to maintain an optimum level of pavement maintenance; it currently receives $20 million.

In August, the city council is planning to discuss the possibility of raising taxes to address needs like public safety and street maintenance, for a possible tax measure in 2014.

Follow Gary Richards at Twitter.com/mrroadshow, look for him at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.