Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Thursday proposed a series of reforms in the way contracts for San Diego’s capital improvement projects — like road repairs — are issued by the city, in order to meet his goal of fixing 1,000 miles of streets in the next five years.
Faulconer said he wants 300 miles of roadways to be fixed in the fiscal year that begins July 1, double that of last year. He said road repair is his top infrastructure priority.
“We’re doubling the amount of street repair we do annually as we tackle head-on what is the number one complaint of San Diegans,” Faulconer said. “It’s also paramount that we make significant changes to the city’s infrastructure program so that projects are done faster and taxpayer money is spent more efficiently.”
His proposed reforms include:
- accepting bids online, which will reduce errors made while filling out forms;
- digitizing the paperwork required to execute a contract, which city officials said could save $1 million annually;
- streamlining environmental reviews for small projects;
- combining small Public Works contracts into larger agreements to harness economies of scale and avoid duplication;
- finishing underground projects with repaving instead of only applying slurry seal; and
- allowing for money slated for one project to be moved to another that’s moving faster toward becoming “shovel ready.”
“These reforms are all about effectively managing the way the city spends its money,” Faulconer said. “Right now, we have tens of millions of dollars languishing in accounts for projects that are years away from getting built. Our neighborhoods need help now.”
City officials have been trying to access around $100 million stuck in accounts for projects that aren’t close to being started.
The city currently doesn’t get going on a project until it’s fully funded. That means a lot of money is sitting around for partially funded projects, when the cash could be shifted around to get some work started, city officials have said.
— City News Service
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