02. Introduction

Capital Planning in San Francisco

The Fiscal Year FY2020-29 City and County of San Francisco Capital Plan (the Plan) is the City’s commitment to building a more resilient and vibrant future for the residents, workers, and visitors of San Francisco. Updated every odd-numbered year, the Plan is a fiscally constrained expenditure plan that lays out anticipated infrastructure investments over the next decade. This document is the product of input from Citywide stakeholders, who have put forth their best ideas and most realistic estimates of San Francisco’s future capital needs.

Through the application of consistent funding principles and fiscal policies, the Plan prioritizes departmental capital needs within defined fiscal constraints. The result is a road map for investments in San Francisco’s streets, facilities, utilities, parks, waterfront, and transportation systems.

Palace of Fine Arts

Developed on the centennial of the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco’s first Capital Plan described the City’s renewed dedication to investing in public facilities and infrastructure for FY2007- 2016. Since that first Plan, the City’s commitment to our capital portfolio has grown substantially. The first Plan called for $15.7 billion to address earthquake safety, modernization, and maintenance needs for City buildings and infrastructure. The level of recommended funding steadily grew as better capital planning practices were employed, infrastructure systems and facilities reached the end of their useful life, and the City dug out of extremely low levels of investment from the mid-1970s to 2008.

The current Plan recommends a record $39 billion in critical infrastructure improvements over the next 10 years. This is $4 billion more than the previous Plan.

Drivers of this increase include (1) large investments in and fees from developing areas in the southeastern part of the city and at Treasure Island; (2) continued use of G.O. Bonds against growing assessed value to address the transportation network, parks and open space, sewers, and critical facilities; (3) strong capital programs from San Francisco’s enterprise departments; and (4) year-over-year growth to keep existing City assets in a state of good repair.

Street Paving

This growth reflects increased confidence in the City’s capacity to administer our capital program in a responsible and transparent manner that employs best practices in financial management. This includes establishing constraints around each funding program to promote long-term viability, listing what is unfunded or deferred, and establishing funding principles, among others. It also recognizes an appreciation for the long-term benefits of investing in public infrastructure. 

The planned growth reflects confidence in the City’s capacity to administer capital projects and programs in a responsible, transparent manner using best practices in financial management. Such practices include establishing constraints around each funding program to promote long-term viability, listing what is unfunded or deferred, and establishing funding principles, among others. It also recognizes San Francisco’s appreciation for the long-term benefits of investing in public infrastructure.

San Francisco's voters have approved nearly $4 billion in G.O. Bonds since 2008, more than the previous 50 years of G.O. Bonds combined.

Table 2.1
Year G.O. Bond Program Amount
(Dollars in Millions)
2008 Neighborhood Parks &
Open Space
180
2008 Public Health
Seismic Facilities
887
2010 Earthquake Safety &
Emergency Response
412
2011 Road Resurfacing &
Street Safety
248
2012 Neighborhood Parks & Open Space 195
2014 Earthquake Safety &
Emergency Response
400
2014 Transportation 500
2015 Affordable Housing 310
2016 Public Health & Safety 350
2018 Seawall Program 425
TOTAL   3,907