San Francisco voters approved Proposition B

San Francisco voters approved Proposition B

Street repair bond passed by San Francisco voters

A $248 million bond measure to repair San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks was approved by voters on Tuesday.

Backed by both the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Mayor Ed Lee, the bond measure required a two-thirds majority from San Francisco voters to be enacted. It will inject $53 million into The City’s coffers next fiscal year for much-needed street and sidewalk improvements.

The $248 million bond measure includes $148 million for street repaving, $50 million for pedestrian and bike safety enhancements, $20 million to improve Muni’s traffic signal infrastructure and $22 million in disability access upgrades.

Both Lee and the Board of Supervisors, which earlier this year voted to recommend the measure by a 9-2 vote, said the street bond was necessary to improve San Francisco’s crumbling infrastructure.

Currently, the Department of Public Works gives San Francisco’s streets a 64 rating out of 100 in its pavement condition index, a metric designed to evaluate The City’s roadways. That ranking indicates a substantial need for
upgrades.

DPW projected an increase in the rating to 66 out of 100 with the approval of the bond measure, and a decrease to 61 out of 100 with a rejection.

The City has plans to spend roughly $20 million over the next three years on street resurfacing projects, but with the approval of the bond measure, that expense will nearly quadruple — to $75 million.

The bond measure  will not come to cheap to San Francisco voters, however, as interest from the loan will account for another $189 million, according to the Board of Supervisors’ budget analyst.

That hefty price tag resulted in opposition to the project from Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who said it was bad policy to fix roads by incurring more debt.

The San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council also refused to endorse the measure, which was put forth before voters as Proposition B. That influential group did not issue support for the plan because it includes local hiring measures opposed by the building council.

In 2009, city officials crafted a similar road and sidewalk repair bond measure. That initiative, valued at $368 million, never made it to the ballot, however, after pre-polling results showed a lack of support for the plan.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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