San Diegans Voted for Billions in Infrastructure Fixes, But Money Is Running Out

by on September 18, 2019 · 0 comments

in San Diego

by Mary Plummer / inewsource / September 17, 2019

Three years after San Diego voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to boost money to fix roads, sidewalks and storm drains, funding is falling far short of projections and is expected to run out by the summer of 2022.

When voters approved the Rebuild San Diego measure by a 30-point margin in June 2016, they did it on promises from Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City Councilman Mark Kersey and business groups that $3 billion to $4 billion in expected revenue growth and pension cost savings would fund infrastructure improvements over the next 25 years. It doesn’t look like that will happen.

City budget documents reviewed by inewsource show that so far just $59 million has been allocated. To hit $4 billion, the annual revenue would need to average $160 million. How the revenues missed the mark so badly can be explained by how the ballot measure was crafted.

Notably, Rebuild San Diego was not a tax increase. Instead, it directs city officials to use three pots of funding from existing sources for infrastructure projects. Here’s how the calculations work for each pot:

  • For the first five years, 50% of growth from one year to the next in property taxes, hotel room taxes and franchise fees. After that, this pot goes away.
  • Annual growth in sales tax revenue, compared to 2016 revenues adjusted for changes in the California Consumer Price Index.
  • All cash savings from reduced payments to the city’s pension fund, using fiscal 2016 as the baseline.

For the balance of this article, please go here.

Photo of  new construction of new bridge across San Diego River. Money allocated through the Rebuild San Diego ballot measure is helping fund the project. 

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