City proposes 5-year infrastructure plan

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SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego City Council is finally set to tackle the city’s infrastructure needs, but with so many roads, sidewalks and construction projects already on the docket, it will be very expensive and there are not enough funds to pay for it.

“The size of the gap is $1.7 billion,” said council member Todd Gloria. "That’s more than the cities annual general budget in one year. I mean, it’s huge.”

The city council’s committee on infrastructure presented its very first comprehensive report on San Diego’s crumbling roads, potholes and storm drains, identifying some $3.7 billion in repairs.

Council member Mark Kersey headed the committee that spent the last two years cataloging all the issues.

“This is a long-term problem that is decades in the making and we’re not going to solve it overnight or here in 2015,” Kersey said. “But it’s making the first step down that path.”

During Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s State of the City address last week, he committed 50 percent of the general fund towards road repair, saying infrastructure would be a top priority.

But that 50 percent of the general fund will nowhere near address the cost of the project nor the $1.7 billion gap.

“That gap is really concerning," Gloria said. "It’s a call for city leaders like me to try to do something about it because under our current approach, we will spend the next five years trying to tackle the issue and I think for the average San Diegan, it won’t look any better for them after 5 years.”

The $3.7 billion assessment is still incomplete. The report doesn’t account for things like city piers and sea walls, new fire stations and 20 percent of sidewalks. Gloria said what is more concerning is a lack of additional plans for funding.

“The mayor's speech outlined a pathway to a ballot initiative to get a new football stadium in 2015,” Gloria said. “But there was no similar contemplation for a ballot measure that will help rebuild our neighborhood.”

All agree to further fund the plan, it will go to the voters in a ballot initiative.

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