Spending more than a half-billion dollars to fix roads, sidewalks and libraries in the city of San Diego – that's what Mayor Kevin Faulconer is proposing in the new budget for the 2019 fiscal year.
The infrastructure plan is part of the mayor's $3.64 billion proposed budget plan that will be examined by the city's Budget Review Committee Wednesday.
At a news conference outside Balboa Park Tuesday, Faulconer said his three priorities next year are ending homelessness, public safety and infrastructure improvements.
He touted the $633 million allocated to infrastructure and other neighborhood projects as the largest infrastructure investment in the city’s history.
"It’s about spending those dollars on where it’s needed most and catching up for years and sometimes decades of neglect,” said Faulconer.
Sixteen million of the infrastructure budget is expected to come from Proposition H funding, an initiative approved by voters in 2016 that calls for sales tax proceeds, general fund revenue growth and pension cost savings to go toward infrastructure. The measure is aimed at raising $4 billion over 25 years.
One of the largest projects to receive funding is Pure Water San Diego, a $121 million project that will create an independent, drought-proof local water supply for people in San Diego. Crews expect to break ground on the project in early 2019.
A spokesperson at the San Diego County Taxpayers Association said there are four reasons the city can allocate so much money toward infrastructure: they made big budget cuts last year, revenue has gone up, there is the expectation of using state funding and there are surpluses from last year.
The infrastructure plan would make improvements to a list of museums and community centers around the city, including the Mingei International Museum at Balboa Park and the Air and Space Museum.
What will arguably impact most people are the planned road repairs. The funding would fix the equivalent of 390 miles of streets, according to the mayor's adopted budget.
"I think the roads are horrible," said Richard Haak from Clairemont.
The mayor pledged in 2015 to fix 1,000 miles of city roads by June 2020. He said last month the city had completed 800 miles of that promise.