File photo courtesy Port of San Diego

The city of San Diego plans to spend more than $445 million on infrastructure in the coming fiscal year, an all-time high, the director of public works said Thursday.

That might not even be the end of it.

Public works officials said another $316 million could be appropriated to capital projects in the fiscal year that begins July 1, depending on the status of bonds and other funding sources.

“We’ve been increasing our capacity, both internally with our staffing and our capacity with industry to drive a large capital program,” the city’s James Nagelvoort told members of the City Council.

The council is amid about a week of examining Mayor Kevin Faulconer‘s $3.6 billion budget proposal.

Proposed infrastructure spending is 6 percent above the current year’s budgeted amount. The extra $316 million would require additional council action, so it is being left off the books for now, according to public works staff.

Councilwoman Lorie Zapf called infrastructure “a bright spot” in an otherwise difficult budget year.

The mayor’s proposed spending plan provides funding for 81 continuing and six new projects. Individual projects, especially large ones, are often funded by multiple sources over several years, making budgeting a complicated process.

Because of multi-year funding, the amount actually spent could vary widely with what’s budgeted. Nagelvoort said he expects that 150 projects will go out to bid and award during the upcoming fiscal year, at a value of around $514 million.

Adding to the complex nature of infrastructure funding, the city could receive more revenue for road projects because of the state’s recently enacted gas tax hike. That could free up some capital project funding to be used on things other than street repairs.

On the other hand, that could raise the price of materials as every city embarks on road repair, Nagelvoort said.

Faulconer’s spending plan calls for 349 miles of street repairs.

Kris McFadden, the director of Transportation and Storm Water, told the council members that pothole reports are up 62 percent this year over last year. He said that’s partly because of winter rains but also because of a phone app that makes reporting easier.

One area that came into public criticism was a lack of funding for planting new trees. The city’s plan to address the impacts of climate change includes a goal of planting 2,000 new trees each year.

According to a city report, management plans to propose $100,000 for planting trees when budget revisions are released later this month. That’s about one-quarter of what was originally requested.

The budget proposal also reduces spending on tree trimming by $882,000.

The council hearings are scheduled to continue through Tuesday, with time reserved for Wednesday if necessary.

–City News Service