Funding cracks pock The City's road to repair 

A planned infusion of $27 billion into San Francisco’s infrastructure over the coming decade will reinvent many of The City’s civic facilities, but it won’t be enough to fully maintain its deteriorating streets.

A draft of the 10-year capital spending plan was forwarded recently to the Board of Supervisors for discussion and approval by May 1. The funds would come from a variety of sources, including bonds, The City’s general fund, and state and federal money.

The desire for a long-term approach to San Francisco’s future infrastructure spending first emerged in 2006 after city lawmakers mandated the 10-year planning process.

“We never had a requirement to do any kind of long-term projections,” said Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who sponsored the legislation that created the new process. “It was a very scattershot approach.”

Because election cycles are shorter than infrastructure maintenance cycles, long-term infrastructure planning is often neglected by municipalities.

Until 2006, spending on infrastructure in San Francisco followed a haphazard approach that masked the depths to which The City’s needed spending on roads, buildings and other assets was falling in arrears.

San Francisco’s latest draft plan outlines 10 years of spending on major capital projects, including a new acute-care facility at San Francisco General Hospital as well as $47 million a year aimed at street resurfacing and building and improving parks.

It also illuminates important projects that must be delayed at least 10 years, such as a renovation of Market Street, and maintenance funding shortfalls.

Under the draft spending plan, San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks will be filled with more cracks and potholes in 2020 than they are today because less than 80 percent of needed street, sidewalk and street tree maintenance is planned to be undertaken over the next 10 years.

That is partly because last year lawmakers dumped a proposed ballot measure that would have allowed The City to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to use for street maintenance.

Instead, that road repair work will be paid for out of The City’s recession-impacted general fund, according to Capital Planning Program Director Brian Strong.

A backlog of $531 million worth of needed street repairs has already been identified, and that backlog will worsen over the coming decade.

“We’re not able to keep up with the need,” Strong said. “If we’re not able to keep up with the need, then the backlog grows more quickly every year.”


Planned infrastructure spending in San Francisco, 2010 to 2020: $26.88 billion

Public safety: $1.47 billion

Health and human services: $741 million

Infrastructure and streets: $7.91 billion

Transportation: $11.01 billion

Recreation, culture and education: $1.46 billion

Economic and neighborhood development: $4.09 billion

General government: $208 million

Source: San Francisco Department of Public Works


Some infrastructure projects planned over the coming decade, or deferred until after 2020

Convert 10-gate international Terminal 2 at SFO into a 14-gate domestic terminal
Accommodate growth in domestic passenger numbers
When: Present to 2011
How much: $383 million

Replacement of Doyle Drive
The Golden Gate Bridge access road has reached the end of its usefulness, and its lanes are too narrow for modern vehicles
When: Present to 2014
How much: $1.05 billion

Rebuild the Transbay Terminal as a potential high-speed rail terminus
The current terminal, built in 1939, no longer meets the region’s transportation needs
When: 2010 to 2015
How much: $4.2 billion

Renovation of San Francisco Marina Yacht Harbor
The harbor is aging and filling with silt
When: 2010 to 2018
How much: $45 million

Refurbishment of Moscone Convention Center and preparation for possible expansion
The convention center is losing its competitive edge
When: 2011 to 2015
How much: $72 million

Seismic upgrade and addition of opera annex to the Veterans Building
Accommodate expansion of San Francisco Opera Company and improve the building
When: 2012 to 2013
How much: $130 million

Expand and improve the Wholesale Produce Market
Space has run out at the market, and the facility could become a shopping and eating district
When: 2012 to 2014
How much: $65 million

Redesign Van Ness Avenue to provide exclusive bus lanes
Reduce transit time on the busy boulevard
When: 2012 to 2014
How much: $118 million

Construction of Muni’s 1.7-mile Central Subway to link downtown with Chinatown and North Beach
Reduce above-ground bus and traffic congestion
When: 2012 to 2018
How much: $1.6 billion

Reconstruction of San Francisco General Hospital acute care facilities
Improve seismic safety to comply with state law
When: 2013 to 2015
How much: $458 million

Redesign Geary Boulevard to provide bus-only lanes
Reduce transit time between San Francisco and Ocean Beach
When: 2014 to 2016
How much: $217 million

Replace the air traffic control tower at SFO with a new 216-foot structure
Current tower is seismically unsafe
When: 2014 to 2016
How much: $104 million

Rebuild Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant
Aging sewage plant stinks out the Bayview
When: 2015 to 2025
How much: $1.8 billion, including some spending on other sewage plants

Construction of a cruise terminal at Pier 27
Cruise ships are an important economic driver for The City, but the current terminal doesn’t meet operators’ needs
When: 2013 to 2014
How much: $60 million

Build two county jails to replace those inside the Hall of Justice
The existing jails are seismically unsafe, endangering up to 100 prisoners
When: 2016 to 2019
How much: $482 million

Seismic upgrade of Laguna Honda Hospital
Ensure the hospital can continue functioning after an earthquake
When: Deferred
How much: $38 million

Campus-wide seismic upgrade of San Francisco General Hospital
Protect hospital facilities from earthquakes
When: Deferred
How much: $419 million

Seismic upgrade of Human Services Agency’s headquarters at 170 Otis St.
Protect city workers and facilities from earthquakes
When: Deferred
How much: $101 million

Repainting, rust removal and seismic upgrades at Islais Creek Bridge
Bridge is in an aging condition
When: Deferred
How much: $89 million

Market Street renovation
Why: The critical thoroughfare, last upgraded in 1987, lacks dedicated bicycle lanes and can be confusing for motorists and pedestrians
When: Deferred
How much: $235 million

Sources: Department of Public Works, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission



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