Todd Gloria at press conference
Mayor Todd Gloria speaks at a press conference. Courtesy of the mayor’s office

Nearly $40 million would be directed toward repairing streets and roads in historically underserved communities under a proposed “Sexy Streets” program, Mayor Todd Gloria announced Monday.

Gloria was joined by Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-San Diego, and City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe at a news conference Monday morning as he highlighted key portions of his proposal.

“People say infrastructure isn’t a sexy topic. I disagree — and that’s why I call newly paved roads `sexy streets,”‘ Gloria said. “All San Diegans deserve streets in their communities that are in good shape.

“The investment I’m proposing will bring long-awaited road repairs to neighborhoods that haven’t traditionally received their fair share while making the infrastructure improvements we need to meet our climate goals,” he said.

The program — if passed as the San Diego City Council considers the proposed budget — will be made possible by federal stimulus funding from the American Rescue Plan, which is providing more than $300 million in budget relief to San Diego.

“The American Rescue Plan is helping San Diego, and cities around the country, provide essential services, address budgetary constraints caused by the pandemic, and meet infrastructure and maintenance needs that have been neglected for far too long,” Jacobs said. “We can’t just get back to normal; we need to invest in underserved communities, prepare for the future, and ensure opportunity for all.”

The funding is proposed as part of Gloria’s draft budget for fiscal year 2022, which begins July 1. It will be invested in streets and roads in Council Districts 4, 8 and 9, which include communities such as Encanto, San Ysidro and City Heights — areas Gloria said have not historically received their fair share of city resources.

“From day one, I have been leading the charge to address the intentional disinvestment, infrastructure inequities and mobility issues that have plagued our communities of concern for decades,” said Montgomery Steppe. “Our residents deserve neighborhood streets that are free from potholes and safe for multimodal access to transportation. These are basic services our government should provide.”

If approved by the council in June, funding would go toward paving roads with new overlay and road reconstruction.

Paving projects will be bundled with other infrastructure to create what Gloria terms “Complete Streets.” The projects could include new sidewalk connections, sidewalk repairs, streetlights, transit-stop improvements, transit- lane improvements, bike lanes, curb-and-gutter construction and stormwater improvements. The investments would be prioritized based on critical transit and active-transportation routes.

Additionally, Gloria plans to add an equity scoring component for all infrastructure needs, including road repairs, community parks and libraries.

The $40 million dedicated to communities of concern is part of an overall road-repair budget of more than $130 million for the 2022 fiscal year. Gloria is proposing to spend a total of $747.4 million on capital improvements. The city’s most recent five-year planning outlook identified nearly $7 billion in infrastructure needs, with a gap in funding amounting to $3 billion.

— City News Service

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