About Inside America’s Finest City: In this series, FOX 5 highlights some of San Diego’s nagging issues and what’s being done about them.
SAN DIEGO — Describing San Diego in a word is easy: sunny, beautiful and chill are all words that come to mind for people in the city.
But describing San Diego’s roads? That is a different story entirely. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria says the problems with San Diego’s roads are obvious, pressing and urgent.
That is why the mayor is proposing a new “Sexy Streets” initiative, with $40 million ready to hit the streets that have been neglected across San Diego.
“The potholes, the need for overlay and repair are everywhere,” Gloria said. “What I don’t think people think through, though, is what you can’t see: the pipes that are underground that are old and deteriorating.”
The only time we experience the underground pipes is when they rupture and water explodes onto the streets or when homes end up getting swamped. Many of the pipes in San Diego are over 70 years old and made of cast iron. The city says they are attempting to replace some of the oldest pipes with PVC pipes.
When a ruptured pipe causes damages, the city risks deferred maintenance liability. Attorney Evan Walker says the city needs to fix the infrastructure or be ready to pay out for the dangerous liability left behind.
“Most people don’t have flood insurance, so if you are a family on the receiving end of this, you are now looking at five or six figure loss, and there is no insurance that is going to cover that,” Walker said. “This could be a catastrophic loss for a family.”
In the new “Sexy Streets” initiative, the mayor says $40 million of urgency will be flowing onto the streets by August.
“There is a robust funding environment, major surplus at the state level, the bipartisan infrastructure bill at the federal level,” Gloria said. “That means resources are going to come to the city that we can invest and make the repairs we need to make.”
With roughly 3,000 miles of roads in San Diego, the mayor says the city will focus on the most traveled roads in the city to start.
“La Jolla Parkway, Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Imperial Avenue, parts of the city where you see a tremendous amount of vehicle traffic but are just deteriorating before our eyes,” the mayor added.
Gloria’s 2023 $4.9 billion budget earmarks the majority of the funding for infrastructure, dubbing the plan “Ready to Rebuild.”
The “Sexy Streets” plan is funded and shovel-ready, hoping to completely overhaul 60 to 84 miles of roads in roughly two years.
“There is a lot of issues in politics that can be hard to get people to come around on, this is not one of them,” Gloria said.