Yes on T1: Support infrastructure bonds

Shirley Sun/Staff

Berkeley infrastructure is crumbling, and the city needs to come together to fix it. That’s why Berkeley residents  should vote yes on T1 to approve $100 million in general obligation bonds that would go exclusively toward repairing and updating parks, senior centers, public buildings, sidewalks and storm drains.

Berkeley’s crumbling infrastructure is an embarrassment. The residents of Berkeley deserve public works that, well, work.

In 2012, Berkeley voters passed Measure M, which authorized $30 million in bond money to improve streets and water works. In 2014, Measure F — a parcel tax for public parks — was approved.

These two measures started Berkeley on the path toward finally addressing long-ignored infrastructural problems. This year’s Measure T1 will provide the funds needed to make real progress on this front.

The Berkeley pier, a hallmark of our community, is out of commission right now because of structural issues. Measure T1 funding would go a long way toward repairs, as well as many other projects.

Perhaps the one issue with the measure is that it doesn’t stipulate exceptionally comprehensive oversight.

Approving Measure T1 means creating a subcommittee of the Public Works Commission and the Parks and Waterfront Commission that will “engage in a robust public process to obtain input, and will jointly report to the City Council on an annual basis regarding projects funded by the bond,” according to the measure.

While an annual report to City Council is no doubt important, such a sizable amount of money warrants more vigorous oversight.

That doesn’t change the fact that Berkeley needs the money to repair its dilapidated streets, parks and public spaces. And updating infrastructure has the potential to drastically reduce maintenance expenditures — which might, in turn, offset the costs of paying back the bond over the next 40 years.

Berkeley residents deserve Measure T1 and a city that’s foxy and efficient. Vote yes on T1.

Endorsements represent the majority opinion of the Senior Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.