Street repairs, storm drains and new fire stations top list of proposed projects

On Tuesday, the San Diego City Council Tuesday unanimously approved a $120 million infrastructure bond that invests more than $40 million toward street repairs and provides $27 million in fire and lifeguard facility improvements, including the design of two new fire stations in neighborhoods that critically need them.

“This bond represents an infrastructure investment surge to tackle critical public safety, road, sidewalk, ADA, and parks projects,” said Councilman Mark Kersey, chair of the Infrastructure Committee. “It is a big step forward toward rebuilding San Diego, something our communities have deserved for a long time.”

The bond will fund $43 million in city-wide street repairs and dedicate another $21 million for upgrades to San Diego storm drains. Several more facilities projects will funded by the proposed infrastructure bond, such as:

  •         Mid City Fire Station #17: $11.2 million
  •         Design of Home Avenue and Skyline Fire Stations: $3 million
  •         South Mission Beach Lifeguard Station: $2.1 million
  •         ADA improvements: $4.7 million
  •         Sidewalk improvements $1 million

The current infrastructure backlog is estimated at $1 billion though it doesn’t include several City assets that have yet to be assessed. For example, the City just initiated the first-ever comprehensive assessment of its approximately 5,000 miles of public sidewalks. A total of $11 million was included in the 2013-14 budget to fund a number of city-wide assessments. In addition to sidewalks, an inventory of facilities, water, wastewater, and park and recreation will also be completed this year.

The infrastructure funding comes in the form of a lease-revenue bond and is part of a $500 million, five-year bonding program previously approved by Council.

“This type of funding is appropriate at this time while construction costs and interest rates are still competitive,” Kersey said. “However, lease-revenue financing can’t be the only option for funding infrastructure and won’t be sufficient to take care of all of our priorities.”

Kersey has proposed increasing general fund dollars allocated to infrastructure as well as dedicating half of any future budget surplus to help eliminate the backlog.