Mayor Faulconer Pushes $633M Infrastructure Investment
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Credit: Matt Hoffman/KPBS
Mayor Kevin Faulconer Tuesday touted his proposed budget's infrastructure investment of $633 million, which would be the largest in city history.
Joined by Councilmen Mark Kersey and Chris Ward, Faulconer discussed the budget while standing in front of Balboa Park's Mingei International Museum, which would receive a new roof under the plan.
"After decades of neglect, we have a lot more to do, which is why I'm focused on fixing more streets, building more parks and making more neighborhood upgrades than ever before," Faulconer said. "We also need to invest in aging buildings like those in Balboa Park so they stand the test of time and that's exactly what this budget will do."
The budget would represent a threefold increase in infrastructure spending since fiscal year 2014. The proposed spending plan reserves $553 million for capital improvements, including $108 million for sidewalk fixes and 390 miles of street repairs. Overall, infrastructure spending makes up about 15 percent of Faulconer's total proposed budget.
Included in budget's funding mix is an estimated $23.3 million from SB 1, which last year raised gas taxes in California to help pay for infrastructure costs. In 2018, a city spokesman said San Diego received $8 million from SB 1. Still, Mayor Faulconer opposes the measure.
"The state should have never raised the gas tax," Faulconer said. "Because there’s so many other reforms that it needs to be doing."
A group against the tax increase recently said they have enough signatures to put a repeal measure on this November's ballot. If the tax increase is repealed, Ward said it would slow down road repairs in San Diego.
"If the voters decide they don’t want that improvement to continue it’s just going to make it that much more difficult to try and meet their expectations for a great road network," Ward said.
Also included in the mayor's proposed budget is more than $100 million for building improvements, including to city libraries, fire stations, recreation centers, lifeguard stations and operations facilities. Balboa Park's Air & Space Museum would receive a new roof. The Tierrasanta Library would be expanded.
Stormwater channels, pump stations and storm drains would undergo $17.6 million in upgrades.
A handful of city parks would see $16.5 million in new lighting, trail work and Americans with Disabilities Act improvements.
The City Council's Budget Review Committee will review Faulconer's infrastructure proposals on Thursday. A final budget is expected to be adopted in June.
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