S.F. Bay restoration: The money we voted for is ready to be spent
Apr 9, 2018 at 1:00pm
By Paul Rogers, Bay Area News Group
Measure AA, approved in 2016, will generate $500 million over 20 years for flood control, environmental restoration
Back in June 2016, Bay Area voters approved Measure AA to raise $500 million to pay for wetlands restoration, flood control and wildlife projects around San Francisco Bay. Now the first wave of that money — nearly $18 million — is about to be put to use.
On Wednesday, the board overseeing the money will vote on projects in six counties totaling $17.9 million. They range from $7.4 million to restore former Cargill industrial salt evaporation ponds in Mountain View, Alviso and Hayward, to $450,000 to restore sand dunes, build a trail and clean up debris along Alameda’s shoreline. The projects chosen will affect roughly 2,618 acres.
Another $5 million is expected to be approved later this year for work to restore natural conditions, remove marine debris and create wetlands at a former industrial site along India Basin on the San Francisco waterfront.
“It’s a joyful feeling. We’re beginning the new era in restoring San Francisco Bay,” said Sam Schuchat, executive officer of the California Coastal Conservancy, an Oakland-based state agency that is helping administer the money. “People voted to tax themselves, which was a bold step. And here we are ready to hand out the first year’s money. It’s pretty exciting.”
Measure AA was the first time that all nine Bay Area counties voted on a single tax measure. The vote, which set the stage for future transportation or housing measures, needed two-thirds overall approval. It received 70 percent.
The money is overseen by the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, a low-profile government agency that was established in 2008 when former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law supported by environmental groups and many Bay Area business leaders.
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