By Clare Crawford| October 29, 2013 |
After a year of work by the Community Budget Alliance, the City of San Diego has changed how it prioritizes infrastructure projects – like roads, sidewalks, water mains, parks and libraries – so that underserved neighborhoods will get a fair shake.
The new policy approved by the City Council yesterday also gives priority to projects that reduce environmental hazards and greenhouse gas emissions, provide services near affordable housing and support living-wage jobs. It could bring everything from bike lanes to new fire stations to previously neglected communities.
“Neighborhoods across the city will benefit from these new priorities,” CPI’s Program and Policy Director Christie Hill said yesterday. “The policy is a significant victory that prioritizes equity and investment in low-income neighborhoods.”
Coupled with a new law passed by the Council this summer to pay prevailing wages to construction workers on public works projects, the new policy creates a more just and higher quality infrastructure system in the City.
Councilmembers thanked the Community Budget Alliance, a coalition of more than 30 local organizations, which has worked with Councilmembers and City staff for the past year to develop the prioritization policy.
Dozens of alliance members attended the council meeting last night and spoke about the needs in their neighborhoods. Muriel King, from Bay Terrace Community Association, testified that “The need to build a new fire station in District 4 has been talked about for more than 30 years.”
The new policy is an important first step in speeding up such long-delayed projects. Finding sufficient funding for everything older neighborhoods need is a continuing challenge. As Hill explained on KPBS radio: “This policy is a beginning. It’s a longer conversation that we expect to have in the coming months and years.”
If you haven’t yet completed the Community Budget Alliance’s survey on infrastructure needs in your community – whether it’s a streetlight, a storm drain, a rec center remodel or any other public structure – please take a few minutes to submit the online form here.
Thank you for your support of CPI and the alliance! We will continue to work to help city residents speak up about the need for public facility improvements and better jobs in San Diego’s underserved areas.