protect public service journalism

Help VOSD raise $150K by December 31st!

Donate 2016

    Mayor Kevin Faulconer stood on a street in Golden Hill Wednesday morning to announce that he was making good on a campaign promise to fix streets.

    Faulconer said he’d dedicate at least half of the city’s tax revenue growth to repairing roads and other deteriorating infrastructure. He’s proposing an extra $22 million in cash for repairs, which he’ll formalize when he releases his first budget next week.

    That number sounds good, but let’s put it into context. Other factors are holding up most of the money Faulconer planned on delivering for infrastructure fixes.

    During his campaign, Faulconer pledged a minimum of $180 million in yearly spending on infrastructure fixes. As much as $120 million, or two-thirds of the money, was supposed to come from loans, not cash from the city’s day-to-day budget. The loans have hit a roadblock, in the form of Cory Briggs.


    It is more important than ever to stand up for good journalism. Donate to VOSD today.

     Learn more about member benefits

    Briggs, a lawyer and frequent thorn in the city’s side, officially filed suit on behalf of his group San Diegans for Open Government to stop an in-progress $120 million bondthe U-T reported. Briggs says the City Charter requires voters’ approval before the city can borrow money.

    “We are not going to be bullied and we are not going to back down from our commitment to every neighborhood,” Councilman Mark Kersey said, according to the U-T. “No good can come from this delay and it means that some of our neediest communities are just going to have to suffer longer.”

    So even though the mayor appears to be tapping more revenue for repairs in his budget, we’re not spending enough on streets to keep them from getting worse. And without the money from the loans that’s tied up in the lawsuit, that will continue to be the case.

      This article relates to: City Budget, City Council, Infrastructure, Kevin Faulconer, News, Share, Streets and Sidewalks

      Written by Catherine Green

      Catherine Green is deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handles daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects. You can contact her directly at catherine.green@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668. Follow her on Twitter: @c_s_green.

      13 comments
      Jack Shu
      Jack Shu subscriber

      How many miles of roads can we fix and convert to "smart streets" if we stop building just one additional lane on a freeway?  It's not a matter of funding, its a matter of poor planning and wrong  priorities.

      Don Wood
      Don Wood subscriber

      Why doesn't the city sell the old sports arena site to the highest bidder and use that money to patch up street potholes, instead of handing it to the billionaire Chargers owners?

      David Crossley
      David Crossley subscriber

      @Don Wood --As soon as that happens, the old sports arena is torn down.  The next thing you hear is, "We need a new arena".

      Richard Ross
      Richard Ross subscribermember

      A. Bad idea Don Wood for many reasons. The arena generates positive revenue for the city. The Kolbys swap meets are only on the weekends so don't impact nearby residents and traffic plus they are a startup for small businesses. The upper perimeter of the arena acts as a multiple cell phone tower with emissions at a safe high level. Leave it alone the residents of Point Loma have opposed this multiple times.

      Don Wood
      Don Wood subscriber

      @Richard Ross Every media analysis of new Charger stadium proposals includes the idea of selling off the Qualcomm site and the sports arena sites and investing that revenue as part of the city's share of the cost of a new stadium. The point I'm trying to make is that if the city ever decides to sell off the sport arena site, it would be smarter to use that revenue to address the city's infrastructure cost backlog and pension debt than to hand that money over to billionaires.

      Richard Ross
      Richard Ross subscribermember

      @Don Wood. What you miss is that the so called media (excluding VOSD) doesn't give a "tinkers ......" about the residents of Point Loma that would be impacted by destruction of the Sports Arena let alone the negative impacts on existing small businesses. Let the wealthy owner of the Chargers pay for a new stadium he can afford it , we taxpayers can no longer afford it.

      Grammie
      Grammie subscribermember

      Repairing roads/sidewalks can only be done on a bandaid basis out of current income. Floating more bonds will add to the debt service, further reducing current available income.

      Within a relatively few years, the pension obligations in San Diego and the entire State of California, are scheduled to consume the entire income. 


      p.s. States can neither print money nor declare bankruptcy.

      Elmer Walker
      Elmer Walker subscriber

      The Mayor is continuing the latest trend of floating bond debt to fix current problems. The City should return to the past practices of paying for road/sidewalk repair from current tax revenue. You can't borrow your way to wealth. The problem is they pay for our current overpaid employees out of current tax revenue and leave no monies for repairs. Until we find the nerve to say no to the overpaid employees we will continue to be a second class city that is rapidly deteriorating.

      Mark Giffin
      Mark Giffin subscribermember

      Sorry about your roads but we have a pension debt to pay and it gets paid first.

      This will continue until 2025 and more than likely further. It is a system of perpetual debt. It IS the elephant in the room and is not going to improve with the current council or Kevin Faulconer.

      Richard....you nail it here.....

      "The mega bond will not solve this problem because the Mayor and council have other uses for your money."

      Allen P Hemphill
      Allen P Hemphill

      It is a basic responsibility of local government. Supporting opera/symphony/sports teams is NOT!

      Richard Tanner
      Richard Tanner subscriber

      Kevin Faulconer has been and still is part of the problem.  As a City council member he wasted and would not account for the taxes that are paid to fix the roads.  Now he is all for borrowing more money to put the taxpayers further in debt for his personal performance.  Until the Mayor and the City council become fiscally responsible in spending other peoples money, this issue will never get resolved.  Just how many years have these politicians been saying they could not pay for the deferred maintenance.  More excuses and continued lack of responsibility.  The mega bond will not solve this problem because the Mayor and council have other uses for your money. 

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      Imagine you're at your favorite lunch restaurant, and today everybody in the restaurant has agreed to split the bill equally. Would you order the usual burger and fries and soft drink, or would you order the filet and the lobster, a bottle of the finest wine, and a dessert plus another one for the road?

      Now imagine that the neighborhoods of San Diego are the diners and the streets are the meals. We've agreed to split the maintenance bill evenly no matter whether the neighborhood has wide streets or narrow ones. Is it any wonder why we have so much asphalt and concrete and why it costs so much to maintain it all?

      Walter Chambers
      Walter Chambers subscribermember

      @Derek Hofmann  At some point, San Diego has to admit to itself that building a 6 lane street with mega infrastructure, and then only allowing a big box store with an even bigger parking lot, or a McDonalds is not productive or economically sustainable. Land Use reform must be a part of any infrastructure deal.