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Mayor Mark Farrell, Supervisor Aaron Peskin and City Agencies Announce Plan to Fully Fund First Phase of Embarcadero Seawall Program

City Capital Planning Committee recommends $425 million bond for November 2018 Ballot

Mayor Mark Farrell, City, Supervisor Aaron Peskin, Administrator Naomi Kelly and the Port of San Francisco have introduced a plan for a $425 million bond measure to seismically strengthen and repair the Embarcadero Seawall.

The City, led by the Port, is planning to make major improvements to the 100-year-old Embarcadero Seawall so that San Francisco can withstand the next major earthquake and prepare for sea level rise. On Monday, the Capital Planning Committee recommended that the $425 million bond measure go before voters on the November 2018 ballot. Coupled with other sources, the bond measure will help fully fund the first phase of the Seawall Earthquake Safety Program.

“The Seawall is vital to our way of life in San Francisco—it protects our city from sea level rise and is crucial to our seismic stability,” said Mayor Farrell. “With a strong Seawall, we have a strong San Francisco. We need to do everything that we can to make sure it’s safe now and for future generations.”

The Seawall underpins the Embarcadero Roadway and provides flood protection to over 500 acres of the City, including the BART and Muni Metro underground transit network. The Embarcadero Seawall, which stretches over three miles from Fisherman’s Wharf to Mission Creek, sits over unstable mud and is vulnerable to lateral spreading and settlement in a major earthquake, which could destroy or seriously damage critical utilities, transportation infrastructure and buildings along the Embarcadero. 

“Voters know it’s not a question of if we have another big seismic event, it’s a question of when,” said Supervisor Peskin, who also serves on the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. “The Seawall Bond is one way we can take steps now to confront the inevitable head-on. We’re going to maximize every dollar to ensure the most cost-effective safety measures, and we’re going to bake in all the protections that voters have come to expect, including historic preservation and impact mitigations.”

With $425 million in bond funding, the Port of San Francisco has identified funding sources for the first $500 million in life safety improvements for the Seawall Earthquake Safety Program. Other sources of funding include funding from the State of California ($55 million), Federal Army Corps of Engineers ($10 million), San Francisco Planning Department and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency ($2 million) and the Port ($8 million).

The Capital Planning Committee (CPC) created the City’s 10-year Capital Plan and makes recommendations to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors on the City’s capital expenditures and plans. Their decision comes just days after the San Francisco Port Commission recommended the Seawall Program bond for the ballot. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will need to approve the bond measure by July 24, 2018 to place it on the November ballot.

“The Embarcadero Seawall supports critical regional transportation, utilities, and emergency response infrastructure,” said City Administrator Naomi Kelly. “Given what an important project this is for the safety of our City, I’m encouraged that we were able to recommend the bond measure to address life safety improvements along the Seawall.”

“The Embarcadero Seawall underpins vital sections of the City,” said Kimberly Brandon, President of the San Francisco Port Commission.  “The bond and additional funds from local, state and federal partners will help make needed repairs so that our water’s edge continues to protect all of the vibrant activities, businesses, and public infrastructure along the Embarcadero.”

“The Port has begun a robust public engagement process and has learned the public understands earthquakes and flood risks and wants the City to act before disaster strikes,” said Elaine Forbes, Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco.  “The funding plan will ensure that we have the tools needed to get started on the Program and keep our world-class waterfront safe.”

The Seawall Earthquake Safety Program is led by the Port of San Francisco, in consultation with the Department of Emergency Management, Department of the Environment, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco Public Works, the San Francisco Planning Department, San Francisco International Airport, City Administrator’s Office, the Mayor’s Office, and the City Controller’s Office. In addition, stakeholders for the Program, include Supervisor Peskin’s Office, Port of San Francisco tenants, the residents of San Francisco, and state and federal partners.