1. Prioritize investments in San Francisco’s transportation infrastructure, with the goal of making public transit accessible to all.
The city should invest in public transit for all. This would be the real New Deal – like the New Deal, this is about creating the infrastructure for the new economy. This would be a real public works program, creating permanent well-paying jobs in all the sectors necessary to maintain and run the public transit infrastructure. It would begin with a bus system that works. Public transit would prioritize strengthening the interconnectivity between neighborhoods throughout the city, and would prioritize connecting new neighborhoods (Mission Bay, Shipyard, Candlestick) to the city, rather than simply connecting new “bedroom communities” to jobs in the South Bay. But in tandem with improving the bus system, major regional and statewide investments also matter: the Transbay Terminal and High-Speed Rail, among others, especially looking toward a peak oil and gas future (which may make airplane travel prohibitive), linking to State and Federal revenues. Transportation infrastructure brings in huge amounts of Federal monies to the city. It has been seen only in its role as developing capital infrastructure, NOT as economic development. We need to look at the whole range of transportation infrastructure (paratransit, shuttles, a city bike-share, etc.) and their role in economic development.
We have seen the private sector economy in San Francisco move from one which employed the overwhelming majority of San Franciscans in San Francisco to an economy that now offers 45% of all San Francisco jobs to commuters, mainly because the jobs in the City don’t pay enough to allow workers to rent or buy in San Francisco. It is projected by the Planning Department that by 2030 some 360,000 commuters will come to San Francisco each day to work. Unless we dramatically expand MUNI’s capacity, any hope of accommodating these commuters in public transit is simple not realistic, since that figure is more than half the existing capacity of MUNI. The idea that they can continue to drive to work is, well, so 20th century. Unless the private sector steps up to provide substantial increases in funding for public transit the fact that they produce jobs for non-residents and expect residents to pay for their transit is simply not economically viable.
See also the conclusions of the Muni and transportation working group of the Community Congress.
2. Prioritize investment in San Francisco’s utility infrastructure.
What would a sustainable municipal energy system look like? Could Community Choice Aggregation be linked to new power supply like the solar array planned for the Sunset reservoir? Other infrastructure tasks may include utility undergrounding, upgrading the sewage treatment system and the water system seismic retrofit. Looking to the long-term, we need to look a what the ecological solution might be.