Press Release

Board of Supervisors unanimously approves $629 million bond for earthquake safety and emergency response

Bond introduced by Mayor London Breed with Supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer and Catherine Stefani to appear on March 2020 ballot.

The Board of Supervisors voted today to approve a $628.5 million bond for seismic retrofitting and resiliency for fire stations, police stations, and other critical public safety infrastructure like San Francisco’s Emergency Firefighting Water System. Mayor Breed introduced the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response (ESER) Bond on May 7, 2019 along with co-sponsors Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer and Supervisor Catherine Stefani.

“The best way to bounce back from a disaster is to make sure we’re as resilient as possible,” said Mayor London Breed. “We know that it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ but a matter of ‘when’ the next major earthquake will strike. This ESER Bond will help our City make critical infrastructure investments so that we’re prepared for the next earthquake or other natural disaster and so our first responders can take care of our residents when it matters most.”

“This bond is crucial to build up our safety infrastructure on the Westside and in our public safety facilities,” said Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer. “This will make our neighborhoods more resilient in the wake of disaster—it is the kind of public investment that I am proud to fight for on behalf of my residents.”

“It is critical to our residents that San Francisco’s public safety infrastructure – including our fire and police stations, emergency water system, and other essential facilities – is prepared for the next major earthquake,” said Supervisor Catherine Stefani. “The 2020 ESER Bond is a key investment to bolster our disaster preparedness in San Francisco.”

The Board’s second vote on the Bond will take place on Tuesday, July 9, after which it will be formally placed on the March 2020 ballot. In addition to Supervisors Lee Fewer and Stefani, Supervisor Ahsha Safaí and Supervisor Gordon Mar signed on as co-sponsors of the Bond. If approved by voters, the Bond would provide:

  • $275 million to fund seismic retrofitting and resiliency projects for Neighborhood Fire Stations and support facilities, such as firefighting training facilities,
  • $153.5 million for the Emergency Firefighting Water System,
  • $121 million to fund seismic retrofitting and resiliency projects for San Francisco Police District Stations, and support facilities,
  • $70 million for disaster response facilities, and
  • $9 million for the Department of Emergency Management 9-1-1 Call Center.

“The ESER 2020 General Obligation Bond is part of the City’s Ten-Year Capital Plan which responsibly identifies the City’s capital needs,” said City Administrator Naomi M. Kelly. “San Francisco’s fiscal policies ensure that the tax rate will not rise through prudent debt management. Planning today for tomorrow’s emergencies will better prepare first responders to protect our communities during an emergency.”

“When a disaster strikes, our Firefighters need to be able to respond immediately. From my experience as a Firefighter and a Paramedic, I know first-hand how important it is to have the infrastructure and facilities that allow our First Responders to do their jobs,” said Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson. “This Bond will provide the funding that we need to invest in public safety infrastructure and First Responder facilities.”

“Infrastructure resiliency is key to being able to safeguard our city during a major disaster, such as an earthquake,” said Police Chief William Scott. “Completing these much-needed seismic, safety and operations improvements will help ensure officers and civilian staff at our district police stations and support facilities are ready and able to respond quickly during an emergency.”

“As we continue to grow as a City, so do the demands for emergency services to assist our residents during their greatest time of need,” said Mary Ellen Carroll, Executive Director, San Francisco Department of Emergency Management. “Improving and expanding our 9-1-1 capabilities, upgrading critical technology systems, and investing in disaster response facilities will help us become a more prepared and resilient city.”

The ESER Bond Program is an initiative to bolster earthquake safety and emergency response resiliency through capital improvements to critical infrastructure. San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved the first $412 million ESER Bond in 2010 and the second $400 million ESER Bond in 2014, both receiving nearly 80 percent support. The Bond Program is administered by San Francisco Public Works, which designs and implements many of the infrastructure improvement projects funded by the Bond.

The 10-Year Capital Plan adopted by the Board of Supervisors on April 30, 2019 includes the ESER Bond funding. The $153.5 million planned for the Emergency Firefighting Water System includes $28.5 million spearheaded by Supervisor Fewer to ensure the system can deliver coverage to the west side of the City.

Published every odd year, the 10-Year Capital Plan is a fiscally constrained expenditure plan that lays out infrastructure investments over the next decade. The City Administrator prepares the document with input from citywide stakeholders, who have put forth their best ideas and most realistic estimates of San Francisco’s future needs.