Mayor Edwin M. Lee today introduced legislation at the Board of Supervisors proposing a $400 million Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond (ESER 2014) for the June 2014 ballot. The ESER 2014 program builds on the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond overwhelmingly approved by San Francisco voters in 2010 that seismically upgraded and strengthened the City’s aging emergency response infrastructure for first responders. This second ESER bond will continue to upgrade and replace old Fire and Police facilities, including the City’s emergency response firefighting water system.
“The next phase of the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response program is necessary to continue the critical work required to repair and improve our City’s infrastructure so that we can quickly and effectively respond to a major earthquake or a disaster,” said Mayor Lee. “This bond program will save lives, save money, improve our City’s recovery efforts and create jobs; all without raising property tax rates.”
“This proposal invests in our collective safety,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. “We know an earthquake is coming, and we have to continue to improve our water delivery and public safety systems to be ready.”
There is a 63 percent chance of a 6.7 or greater magnitude earthquake striking the Bay Area in the next 25 years, according to the United States Geological Survey. A quake of that size could prove devastating to life and property. This investment and planning for future emergencies will:
• Reduce injuries, deaths and property damage by providing first responders with equipment and infrastructure they need to respond to emergencies and help safeguard our communities;
• Save money as we address needed repairs and upgrades before inflation increases their costs;
• Expedite the City’s recovery after an event – reducing crime, preserving jobs, and ensuring the rapid return of San Francisco in the weeks and months immediately following a disaster; and
• Create more than 3,600 jobs in San Francisco to boost our economy and put San Franciscans to work.
The ESER 2014 bond is the second of three planned bonds for first responder facilities outlined in the City’s Ten-Year Capital Plan and a major component of the Justice Facilities Improvement Program (JFIP). The ESER 2014 will continue to improve the structural resilience of essential facilities to ensure effective delivery of fire, police and other critical life safety services after a major earthquake. ESER 2014 will:
• Seismically upgrade selected neighborhood fire stations.
• Seismically upgrade the emergency firefighting water system (formerly referred to as the Auxiliary Water Supply System) by building additional cisterns that provide emergency water for firefighting; repairing, replacing and improving the most vulnerable components of the emergency firefighting water system pipe and tunnel network to withstand a major earthquake; and by addressing safety and seismic reliability concerns at core facilities.
• Seismically upgrade and improve select district police stations by renovating or replacing up to nine of the ten district stations.
• Relocate the Police Department’s traffic company and forensic services facilities from the seismically deficient Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant Street to a seismically safe site that will allow the San Francisco Police Department to function effectively during and after a natural disaster when emergency response capabilities are critical.
• Relocate the Medical Examiner’s facility, including the City’s morgue, from the seismically deficient Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant Street to a seismically safe site to ensure citywide emergency response capabilities by the Medical Examiner.
The Ten-Year Capital Plan is the City’s formal commitment to long-term, strategic and fiscally responsible capital planning. The plan is adopted annually by the mayor and Board of Supervisors to prioritize capital needs across all City departments. ESER 2014 is a key component of the City’s Ten-Year Capital Plan and an important program to ensure first responders are relocated out of the Hall of Justice into more seismically safe facilities. The $400 million ESER 2014 bond proposal is included in the current capital plan. Property tax rates will not increase as a result of this bond program. New ESER bonds only will be issued once the City pays off previous bonds that funded the construction and improvements to other public assets, such as neighborhood parks and libraries, Laguna Honda Hospital, San Francisco General Hospital, the Academy of Sciences and the Asian Art Museum.
For more information on the ESER 2014 bond, and the accomplishments of ESER 2010, go to: www.sfearthquakesafety.org