Proposed SF bond measure would fund public safety upgrades

San Francisco plans to increase its investment in its public safety infrastructure with a $400 million bond measure introduced Tuesday by Mayor Ed Lee for the June 2014 ballot.

The proposal comes four years after 79 percent of voters approved a similar Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond. It is an extension of a long-term plan to ensure emergency facilities in The City are in healthy condition and can withstand a major earthquake.

The largest single project the bond would fund is the $165 million relocation and construction of a new police traffic facility and crime lab. The traffic facility is currently housed at the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St., while the lab, currently located in the Hunters Point shipyard, is slated for demolition to make way for residential development. The two operations would be joined in a new site at 1995 Evans Ave. in Mission Bay.

Approximately $70 million of the bond would go toward replacing or making seismic upgrades to neighborhood fire stations, and an additional $70 million would go toward upgrading the Emergency Firefighting Water System.

“The next phase of the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response program is necessary to continue the critical work required to repair and improve our city’s infrastructure so that we can quickly and effectively respond to a major earthquake or a disaster,” said Lee in a statement. “This bond program will save lives, save money, improve our city’s recovery efforts and create jobs; all without raising property tax rates.”

The bond would be paid for by property taxes, of which 50 percent of the costs can be passed on to tenants, but officials say it will replace existing debt service, keeping the rates flat.

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