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Financing Plan For San Diego's Infrastructure May Go Before Voters

A San Diego worker fills a pothole in the South Park neighborhood on April 29, 2014.
Claire Trageser
A San Diego worker fills a pothole in the South Park neighborhood on April 29, 2014.

A plan to finance San Diego's infrastructure improvements such as street and sewer repairs may go before voters in 2016.

Councilman Mark Kersey, who chairs the City Council Infrastructure Committee, said he plans to put an initiative on the ballot after a new report showed the city's infrastructure repairs will cost more than expected.

The five-year plan found $3.87 billion in needs but only $2.16 billion in available funding.


"I am going to commit to the citizens of San Diego that we will go to the ballot in 2016 with an infrastructure initiative," Kersey told KPBS. "We don’t know what that will look like but it will be a plan of finance of how we’re going to pay for all of these repairs that we know are needed."

Councilman Todd Gloria said he supported Kersey's proposal.

"I applaud Councilmember Mark Kersey’s honest assessment that San Diego must consider a new funding source to address our growing infrastructure needs," Gloria said in a statement.

Kersey said he'll seek input from community members to hear what projects they want completed first. In the meantime, the city will spend the money it does have to fix the city's roads, he said.

Craig Gustafson, spokesman for Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the mayor will also introduce ways to improve how the city's projects move forward.


"As the mayor said in his State of the City address, we’re not waiting until 2016 to improve the quality of our streets. The mayor will be bringing forward a series of reforms in the coming weeks to speed up infrastructure projects, hold contractors accountable and repair 1,000 miles of roads during the next five years," Gustafson said in a statement. "Councilmember Kersey has been a great partner in tackling our infrastructure backlog and the mayor will work closely with him on a variety of options to rebuild San Diego.”

The plan, several years in the making, takes into account repairs of city streets, water and sewer pipelines, buildings and other facilities, but not policy-driven items like a new Chargers stadium or an expansion of the convention center.

The largest of the big-ticket items listed in the report are $777 million over five years for stormwater improvements, $513.8 million over the same period for the sewer system and $415.5 million for road repairs, which Faulconer said last week will be his top priority.

The report also shows a five-year funding shortfall of $604 million for stormwater, $269 million for road repairs, about $225 million for street lights, $141 million for police and fire stations and other city buildings, $75 million to shore up bridges and $55 million for traffic signals.

Corrected: June 30, 2022 at 5:19 PM PDT
KPBS Metro Reporter Tarryn Mento contributed to this story.