Mayor London Breed Announces First Bond Sale to Strengthen the Embarcadero Seawall
$50 million General Obligation bond sale will fund planning of immediate life safety improvements for seismic and flooding hazards to the San Francisco waterfront
San Francisco, CA— Mayor London N. Breed today announced a $50 million General Obligation bond sale to fund planning of immediate life safety improvements for seismic and flooding hazards to the San Francisco waterfront. The bond sale is part of the $425 million bond that San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed with 82.7% of the vote in the November 2018 election. The bond will support the first phase of repairing and replacing the Embarcadero Seawall, which protects the City from urgent and increasing seismic and flood hazards.
"Last November, San Franciscans voted resoundingly to strengthen the Embarcadero Seawall,” said Mayor Breed. "We know that we not only need to be prepared for the next big earthquake, but also for the eventual impacts of climate change and sea level rise. This is an investment in the future of our city to ensure a sustainable and resilient waterfront for years to come."
The Embarcadero Seawall stretches over three miles along the waterfront from Fisherman’s Wharf to just beyond Oracle Park. The Seawall sits over unstable mud and is vulnerable to lateral spreading and settlement in a major earthquake. If the Seawall were to fail, it could destroy or seriously damage critical utilities, emergency assets, and regional transportation infrastructure, as well as disrupt over $100 billion in annual economic activity and assets along the Embarcadero. The Seawall underpins the nationally registered Embarcadero Historic District and provides flood protection to over 500 acres of the City and regional transportation systems, including the BART and Muni Metro underground transit network. The Embarcadero roadway is already experiencing periodic flooding, which will get more frequent and severe due to climate change and rising sea levels.
The proposed bond sale was introduced at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors today. The bond sale is estimated to close by the end of May 2019.
“Protecting San Francisco from sea level rise and earthquakes will be one of the most important projects of our generations,” said Supervisor Peskin, who sits on both the Coastal Commission and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission and was the lead sponsor of the General Obligation bond. “The first sale of the bond will help us act now to strengthen our waterfront for generations to come.”
The first Seawall Bond sale will support the planning and preliminary design phases of the Embarcadero Seawall Program, including site and geotechnical investigations, risk assessment, alternatives analysis, and identification of potential pilot projects. It will also support the San Francisco Waterfront Storm Risk Management Study General Investigation, a joint study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Port of San Francisco Flood Study, which will analyze flood risks to the Port’s entire jurisdiction from Fisherman’s Wharf to Heron’s Head.
“The bond sale represents an important down payment on one of the most critical pieces of infrastructure in our City – not just for seismic safety, but for sea level rise,” said City Administrator Naomi M. Kelly, who chairs the Capital Planning Committee. “I’m proud of San Francisco for voting to responsibly invest in this vital program and the safety of our City. San Francisco must act quickly to begin this capital project and meet the strict standards of accountability, fiscal responsibility, and transparency voters expect and deserve.”
“Thank you San Francisco voters for your confidence and trust in the Port of San Francisco and voting for the Seawall Bond to ensure our waterfront remains safe,” said Port of San Francisco Commission President Kimberly Brandon. “Now it’s time to leverage local funds for state, federal, and private dollars to ensure the up to $5 billion Program is fully funded.”
With $425 million in General Obligation bond funding approved by voters, the Port has identified funding sources for the $446 million needed in Phase I for life safety improvements. Current and planned funding includes a $425 million local General Obligation bond, a grant from the State of California, as well as contributions from the San Francisco Planning Department, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the Port. Additionally, the Port is pursuing State legislation to support the remaining funding for the Embarcadero Seawall Program through the Port’s Infrastructure Financing District. Full infrastructure improvements to the Embarcadero Seawall are estimated to cost up to $5 billion and will require continued investments from local, state, federal, and private partners.
“We heard the San Francisco residents loud and clear through the Port’s robust engagement process, and again at the ballot box, that they support the Embarcadero Seawall Program,” said Port of San Francisco Executive Director Elaine Forbes. “The Port and City will continue to be good stewards of public lands, and be accountable and transparent, as we initiate the bond sale and throughout the planning, design, and construction phase of the entire Program.”
The Embarcadero Seawall Program is led by the Port of San Francisco, in consultation with the Mayor’s Office, the Board of Supervisors and Supervisor Peskin’s Office, City Administrator’s Office, City Controller’s Office, Department of Emergency Management, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco Public Works, San Francisco Planning Department, Department of the Environment, and San Francisco Airport. Stakeholders for the Program include the residents of San Francisco, Port of San Francisco tenants, and regional, state, federal, and private partners.
For more information on the Embarcadero Seawall Program, visit https://www.sfseawall.com/.