Like every other department in the city, SDOT is facing serious budget shortfalls. Amid a re-stoked tunnel debate (if you haven’t read Dominic Holden’s piece last week about what could go wrong with the tunnel, do so), SDOT is struggling to figure out how to fill potholes with a shrinking budget. And the bike and pedestrian master plans? Ha!
In addition to maintenance, under McGinn’s plan the new revenues would pay to help implement the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plans, both of which are badly underfunded. At the current rate of funding, it would take 80 years to complete 20 percent of projects in the pedestrian plan. The city estimates the bike plan will cost $240 million; currently, however, SDOT is only spending $3 million a year to implement the plan. Even if the city council passes McGinn’s proposal, it wouldn’t come close to providing the $30 million a year bike and pedestrian advocates want the city to spend on “Walk, Bike, Ride,” another McGinn initiative that currently lacks funding.
So the mayor is proposing an increase in the commercial parking tax (5-10 percent) and vehicle license fees ($20 increase) in order to fund SDOT’s general operations, like potholes, re-striping, crosswalks, etc. Neither action requires a public vote and can be taken by the City Council.
For all you who have pothole repair fetishes (it’s OK, this is a safe space), this video will send you into outer space. If potholes aren’t your thing, skip to about the 26-minute mark if you want to catch the new funding proposal stuff.