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Capital Projects

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Public Works has an aggressive program to improve infrastructure within the unincorporated areas of the County of San Diego. The Capital Improvement Program consists of improvements to roads and bridges; facilities at the eight County-owned and operated airports and airstrips; flood control facilities in unincorporated developed areas; and wastewater facilities owned and operated by the County. These services keep our roads and related infrastructure up to date to promote safe, viable and livable communities and make it easier for residents to lead healthy lives.

The Capital Improvement Program Project Development Section consists of a project management team, team leaders, design engineers and a contracts group. 

Bonita Road Bridge photoThe Department of Public Works project management team is responsible for overall management and coordination of planning, budget, design, environmental clearance and permitting, right-of-way acquisition and utility coordination for County roads. Funds are approved by the Board of Supervisors via a yearly Detailed Work Program. In a typical fiscal year, approximately 25 projects are in construction with about 70 other projects in the development stages. The Capital Improvement Program adopted budget for fiscal year 2013-14 is approximately $75 million. 

Funding for the Capital Improvement Program comes from a variety of sources including: 

  • Statewide Gasoline fee collection on a per gallon basis from motor fuels sales - “Gas Tax” is the primary source of funds for the overall County road maintenance and improvement program. For every gallon of gasoline we pump into our vehicles, the State of California collects a few cents for every gallon sold. The State then distributes money back to California counties using a formula based on each county's number of registered vehicles. This money becomes a special revenue fund called the Road Fund. This fund must be used for road and transportation purposes.

  • TransNet - This local, ½ cent gasoline sales tax was approved by San Diego County voters in 1987. TransNet is dedicated to specific road improvement projects approved by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) which is designated as the regional planning authority.

  • Transportation Impact Fee (TIF) - This County ordinance will enable implementation of the County’s programs for the purpose of assessing and collecting fees from future development to offset the costs of constructing planned transportation facilities necessary to accommodate increased traffic generated by future development consistent with §§ 66000, et seq. of the California Government Code (Mitigation Fee Act). This ordinance applies to development for residential, commercial and industrial land uses, and any others associated with the generation of traffic. Fees collected are to fund identified transportation facilities, or portions thereof, that will provide increased road capacity necessitated by the cumulative impacts of future development. The transportation facilities for which these fees are collected are identified as “TIF Facilities”.

  • State Proposition 1B funds – This proposition creating a new funding source was passed by voters in 2006 and is derived from the State issuing General Obligation Bonds to be used for transportation infrastructure related projects. These funds were first made available to the County in FY 2007-08 and will end in June 2014.

  •  Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funds - Provide funding for specific roads and bridges in eligible communities. 

  • Federal Highway Bridge Program (HBBR and HBP) – Federal funds provided through CALTRANS to replace or rehabilitate County bridges. 

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – Federal funds provided to complete a variety of airport improvements. 

  • Federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) - Provides funds to small cities and counties for community development and economic development activities. 

  • Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) - grants are used to make needed repairs after damage by storms or disasters. 

  • Special Districts - The Department of Public Works administers the operation of 85 districts, which provide street lighting, fire protection, landscape, and road maintenance services, and manages one Countywide Lighting Maintenance District. Districts are created when residents of an area desire a level of service beyond what the County normally provides. Property owners define the desired level of service, and then assess themselves to pay for the services. DPW has a Special Districts section that manages these districts and administers their budgets. Local flood control district drainage fees provide funds for improvements to new and existing drainage structures affecting the County road infrastructure. Sanitary Districts generate funds for improvement to wastewater infrastructure. 

  • Developer fees - Funds provided to the County directly by private land developers to mitigate impacts as a condition of obtaining new subdivision permits within the County. 

  • Other grants – Numerous other sources of grants are used to partially fund road improvement projects. A partial list of some of the more commonly used include: 

  • Safe Routes to School (SR2S) – Department of Transportation funds administered through CALTRANS provided to improve the health of kids and the community by making walking and bicycling to school safer, easier and more enjoyable. They accomplish this by construction of bicycle and pedestrian safety and traffic calming projects that provide a safe route for children to utilize. (SB 1087 extended the program through January 1, 2008).

  • The Hazard Elimination Safety Program (HES) – A Federal safety program that provides funds for safety improvements on all public roads and highways. These funds serve to eliminate or reduce the number and/or severity of traffic accidents at locations selected for improvement. 

  • Indian Gaming Special Distribution Funds (IGSDF) – Created for local government agencies impacted by tribal gaming these funds are used to supplement road improvement projects to mitigate traffic impacts in the vicinity of Native American casinos and gaming establishments. 

  • Transportation Development Act (TDA) - This California State revenue is used to build bike lanes, build and operate transit centers and supplement fare box revenues for the County Transit System. These funds are for the development and support of public transportation needs and are allocated to areas of each county based on population, taxable sales and transit performance. Several bike and pedestrian pathway projects in the county have utilized TDA funds. 

  • San Diego County Sanitation District – The District funds various Capital Improvement projects related to its sewer infrastructure.  Many projects are condition-based; meaning pipes, lift stations or other facilities have structural defects or failures that warrant repair.  Other projects are capacity-based; meaning pipes or other facilities need to be increased in size in order to provide sufficient capacity to meet growing demands.

Design Standards
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If you have questions or need additional information, please direct your requests to the following address:

Terrence Rayback
Public Works Manager, CIP Project Development
Department of Public Works
5500 Overland Avenue, Suite 320
San Diego, CA 92123  

Top Capital Improvement Projects | CIP Five Year Plan