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Why Faulconer's Streets Plan Doesn't Mean Streets Will Get Better

Mayor Kevin Faulconer previewed his big budget reveal with a look at what he plans to spend on infrastructure repairs. But without some sizable loans held up in a lawsuit, we’re not likely to see much improvement out on the road.

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.

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.

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