Mayoral contender Nathan Fletcher has pledged to devote at least $150 million annually to repair crumbling streets and sidewalks but whether that translates into a significant crush of funds for such upgrades depends — on whether Fletcher would actually spend more than that.
Fletcher made the promise in a jobs plan he released Thursday and claimed the spending could create thousands of working-class jobs.
He also committed to a $100 million bond set to be discussed by the City Council’s infrastructure subcommittee next month and said he’d seek a similar influx of bond money each year.
The promised $150 million exceeds what the city set aside for such projects this year. The city’s current budget commits $135.2 million to infrastructure upgrades. Former Mayor Bob Filner had penciled in another $143 million in 2015 and $156 million in 2016.
The City Council’s five-year infrastructure plan, however, suggested at least $152 million in annual spending starting next year.
These totals include both a bond, which the city can seek without voter approval, and cash from the city’s day-to-day budget that covers repairs and maintenance.
So does Fletcher plan to commit more than $150 million to the upgrades?
On Friday, he would only tell Voice of San Diego that he plans to release a more detailed plan in coming weeks. A spokeswoman later said that blueprint will “go well beyond this minimum investment.”
Just how much more Fletcher is willing to commit is crucial.
The city’s infrastructure backlog totals more than $898 million and city leaders have determined they’ll need to spend more than $160 million annually over the next four years to keep streets and sidewalks from getting worse.
That number is likely to increase significantly when the city finishes a series of assessments of buildings and sidewalks that’s expected to add to millions the city’s total infrastructure bill.