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Capital Improvements Program (CIP)

Fund Sources

The Capital Improvements Program (CIP) uses a variety of funding sources to support projects. This section outlines some of the more common funding sources used in the CIP. For further fund information, review the Annual CIP Budget.

Bond Financing

Bond financing is a long-term borrowing tool used to meet the City's cash flow needs and to provide funds for capital projects. The City Council has approved financing agreements to provide funding for deferred capital projects throughout the City. The list of deferred capital projects includes improvements to City streets, buildings, and storm drains.

Capital Outlay

Capital Outlay Funds are used exclusively for the acquisition, construction, and completion of permanent public improvements or real property; replacement or reconstruction of public facilities; and other improvements of a permanent character.

Development Impact Fees (DIF)

Development impact fees are collected to mitigate the impact of new development in urbanized communities that are near build-out. The amount of the DIF is based on a portion of the financing needed for identified public facilities. Property being developed is assessed the fee(s) at the time the building permit is issued.

Donations and Developer Funding

Projects may be funded by contributions and/or donations from private sources, such as residents, developers, private organizations, and businesses. Contributions by developers and vendors may be reimbursed by City funds in future years.

Enterprise Funds

Enterprise Funds account for specific services that are funded directly by fees and charges to users. These include the services provided by Public Utilities, Environmental Services, Airports and Golf Courses. These funds are intended to be fully self-supporting and are not typically subsidized by any general revenue or taxes. Within each Enterprise Fund, budgets are developed which are sufficient to fund current year operations and maintenance expenses, as well as provide for current and future years' upgrade, replacement, and expansion-related capital construction requirements.

Facilities Benefit Assessments (FBA)

Facilities Benefit Assessments (FBA) provide 100 percent of funding for public facilities projects that service a designated area of benefit and are identified in the public facilities financing plan. The dollar amount of the assessment is based upon the cost of each public facility equitably distributed over a designated area of benefit in the community planning area. Assessments are recorded as liens with the County of San Diego Assessor's Office. Property being developed is assessed at the time the building permit is issued. The amount of the assessment is determined by the type and size of the development.

General Fund

Some allocations to the CIP budget are allocated from the operating budget of General Fund departments.


Some projects are entirely or partially funded by grants and reimbursements from the state and federal government and other agencies. The receipts of certain grants and reimbursements typically follow the award of contracts.

Internal Service Funds

Internal Service Funds are established for the financing of goods or services provided by one City department to another City department on a cost-reimbursement basis. Examples of Internal Service Funds used in the CIP budget are the Energy Conservation Program Fund and the Fleet Services Internal Service Fund, managed by General Services.

Maintenance Assessment Districts (MADs)

Maintenance Assessment Districts are established by the City of San Diego as a means of providing property owners with the opportunity to assess themselves to pay for enhanced improvements, maintenance, services and activities. Certain projects requested by the district may be capital in nature and are funded by the specific MAD. MAD budgets are developed with sufficient funding for current year maintenance and capital projects.

Mission Bay and Regional Park Improvements Funds

Mission Bay rents and concessions revenue is allocated to the Mission Bay and Regional Park Improvements Funds. The funds in the Mission Bay Improvements Fund may only be expended in Mission Bay Park for permanent capital improvements and capital deferred maintenance of existing facilities, as well as to improve environmental conditions consistent with the Mission Bay Park Master Plan (PDF).

Special Revenue Funds

Special Revenue Funds account for revenue received for specifically identified purposes. Examples of Special Revenue Funds used in the CIP budget are the Concourse and Parking Garages Operating, Environmental Growth, Fire/Emergency Medical Services Transport and QUALCOMM Stadium Funds.

TransNet Funds

TransNet, a one-half cent local sales tax, is used for traffic congestion relief and transportation improvements. In addition to roadway enhancements, TransNet Funds are utilized for bikeway and pedestrian projects. TransNet includes a Maintenance of Effort provision to guarantee that the City spends a certain amount of discretionary funds on the maintenance and improvement of the public right-of-way. The City utilizes TransNet cash for projects as much as possible in an attempt to minimize the issuance of bonds due to added costs of debt service.

TransNet Commercial Paper is a borrowing tool that can be used to raise cash needed to cover cash-flow deficits and is generally viewed as a lower-cost alternative to bank loans. In an attempt to further minimize debt service costs, the issuance of TransNet Commercial Paper may be utilized when feasible.

Utilities Undergrounding Program Fund

This fund provides for the undergrounding of City utilities. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) includes a surcharge for the undergrounding of utilities on electric bills. This amount is deposited with the City to be used solely for the undergrounding of electrical lines and associated activities.

Unidentified Funding

Some projects may lack sufficient identified funding to complete the project, which is reflected in the Annual CIP Budget.