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Measure U: 2022 Affordable Housing Infrastructure Bond


The purpose of this fact sheet is to provide factual information and answer frequently asked questions about potential impacts of Measure U, the 2022 Affordable Housing Infrastructure Bond.

Measure U Ballot Language

“Shall the measure to improve public safety and invest in Oakland by creating affordable housing for Oaklanders, increasing housing for homeless Oaklanders, repaving streets to remove potholes, improving traffic/pedestrian safety, and updating fire stations and other public facilities, by issuing $850,000,000 in general obligation bonds, raising approximately $85,000,000 annually while bonds are outstanding at the rate of $0.071 per $100 ($71 per $100,000) of assessed value, with independent oversight and annual audits be adopted?

Measure U and Affordable Housing in Oakland

What is Oakland’s affordable housing need?

The City of Oakland is required by the State of California to create over 10,000 units of affordable housing by 2030. The City’s target production of affordable housing units has increased to 1,283 units per year in 2023, based on the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA); this is up from 595 units per year in the 2015-2022 RHNA. At current funding levels, the City of Oakland can only produce approximately 602 units of affordable housing by 2030.

Meeting the City’s affordable housing goals requires approximately $192 million per year, at an average cost subsidy to the City of $150,000 per affordable housing unit.

The Housing and Community Development (HCD) Department’s 2021-2023 Strategic Action Plan can be found here, and HCD’s 2021 Impact Report can be found here.

How many units of affordable housing would be funded by Measure U?

Measure U will fund the construction and acquisition/rehabilitation of 2,200-2,400 affordable housing units over the next four to six years, getting Oakland closer to meeting the goal of 10,000 units of affordable housing by 2030.

While nearly all affordable housing projects require other public and private funding sources, the City is often the first lender to provide loan commitments to affordable housing projects, helping to build an affordable housing pipeline. Funding from Measure U would expand City affordable housing development programs which started with funding from Measure KK, the bond measure predecessor to Measure U passed in 2016.

Measure KK helped fund the construction of 721 new construction units, the preservation of 420 existing affordable housing units, and the acquisition and conversion of 420 units to affordable housing. In total, Oakland was able to produce 1,561 units of affordable housing with Measure KK funding, in addition to other local and County funding sources that projects were able to leverage using Measure KK funding.

How many units of affordable housing will be funded without Measure U?

The funding currently allotted to affordable housing in the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Budget provides approximately 90 units. This is less than 7% of the City’s goal of 1,283 affordable housing units per year, a production gap that continues to accrue to future years’ goals.

Measure U and Oakland’s Streets

How much funding does Oakland need to pave and maintain its streets?

Oakland’s current paving maintenance backlog is $432 million, which includes $76 million of deferred maintenance on major streets and a maintenance backlog of $356 million on local streets.

How will funding from Measure U affect street paving and street condition?

With Measure U funding, the City can pave a minimum of 40 miles of streets per year. This rate of paving will keep the City on track to maintain the existing “Good” condition of major streets and continue investment to repair local streets in “Poor” condition. With funding from Measure U, the average citywide Paving Condition Index (PCI) is anticipated to improve to “Good” condition by 2027, on both local streets and major streets.

Prior to the passage of Measure KK, the City averaged nine miles of paving per year, primarily only major streets. Following the passage of Measure KK and the creation of the Department of Transportation, the street paving average increased to 27 miles per year, a 200% increase, including both local and major streets.

The result of the increase in paving has been a steady improvement of pavement conditions citywide. Before Measure KK’s passage, just 3% of local streets and 17% of major streets were rated in “Excellent” condition. Measure KK funding moved 19% of local streets and 40% of major streets into “Excellent” condition.

Measure U will provide a dedicated funding source to deliver major projects such as MLK Jr. Way Complete Streets paving project and the Grand Ave Complete Streets paving project, for example.

How will Oakland’s paving and street condition be affected if measure U doesn’t pass?

The City has funding to pave an estimated 10 miles of streets per year. At that rate of paving, Oakland’s paving condition is projected to decrease to “At Risk” by 2027, reversing 10 years of investment. The City also would not be able to complete the 400+ miles of paving prioritized in the 2022 5-year Paving Plan.

How will Measure U impact street safety projects?

Measure U will provide a dedicated source of local matching funds for the City to continue to win grants for streetscape improvements that prioritize pedestrian and bicycle safety, including dedicated bike lanes, safer crosswalks, and traffic calming. Measure U funding will increase the City’s ability to install additional improvements that are frequently requested by community members, including lighting, landscaping, and beautification. Measure U funding will enable:

  • Critical safety improvements both on Oakland’s High-Injury Network, where just 6% of streets account for over 60% of severe and fatal crashes, and in priority communities with historic disinvestment, such as East Oakland and West Oakland.
  • Comprehensive transportation improvements built in coordination with paving projects to improve traffic safety and enhance pedestrian and bicycle visibility.
  • Progress on transportation capital projects identified in community-driven planning efforts such as the East Oakland Mobility Action Plan and the West Oakland Community Action Plan.
  • Improvements that make it safer for children to walk and bike to school through the Safe Routes to School program.

What is the impact to street safety projects if Measure U doesn’t pass?

In state, county, and local grant applications where providing a “local match” scores points, the City’s inability to provide the required matching funding means that grant applications would score fewer points and therefore be less competitive. Securing grant funding is the primary way Oakland implements major transportation projects.

In addition, the City might not have the ability to augment paving projects to incorporate comprehensive safety improvements for people walking and biking, meaning the streets would simply be repaved without safety upgrades. The City will also have less capacity to expand project scopes based on community input.

Measure U and Oakland’s Public Facilities

What is Oakland’s current funding need for recreation centers, libraries, parks projects and other facilities?

A total of $1.87 billion is needed to improve Oakland facilities, build modern fire stations, renovate and expand libraries, recreation centers and parks, and electrify buildings. For example:

  • Current facility projects like rebuilding the Mosswood Community Center, devastated by fire in 2016, and the Lincoln Recreation Center require $76 milllion. These projects will be shovel-ready in 2023 and are awaiting construction funding.
  • Current facility projects that are partially funded and are in the initial stages of community outreach and/or the design phase need $246 million.
  • Of the remaining $1.55 billion funding need, $1.23 billion is needed for other City-owned facilities, including recreation centers, libraries, fire stations, and civic and cultural sites like the Chabot Space & Science Center, Fox Oakland Theater, Paramount Theater and Oakland Asian Cultural Center that are not active projects with funding identified; and $314 million is needed for park project improvements at more than 100 City parks.

What impact would Measure U have on public facilities?

Measure U will enable the City to conduct critical creek restoration and make improvements to parks, fire stations, recreation centers, libraries, and civic and cultural sites across the City.

Measure U funding will enable Oakland to complete design and construction on projects that have only partial funding, such as Fire Station 29, Arroyo Viejo Master Plan, and New Hoover Branch Library. The Mosswood Community Center and the Lincoln Recreation Center project will be shovel-ready next year and will be able to move forward with construction funding.

In addition to addressing facility needs, the City is currently developing a Storm Drainage Master Plan that will include a detailed and comprehensive examination of its storm drainage system, model flooding conditions, and create a list of high-priority capital projects for future work. Armed with this more robust information, the City will be able to use Measure U funds to not only fund stormwater capital work and ongoing maintenance to reduce flooding and drainage issues, but also secure additional grant funding for projects identified under this Plan using “local match” funds.

Measure U funding will accelerate implementation of the Equitable Climate Action Plan (ECAP), adopted in July 2020, which requires Oakland to eliminate natural gas usage in buildings by 2040. The pace and scale of efforts to retrofit affordable housing and municipal buildings with clean energy systems would significantly increase, resulting in improved air quality, lower energy bills, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. These clean energy building retrofits otherwise lack a dedicated funding source.

More information about the Equitable Climate Action Plan is available here.

How will facilities projects be impacted without Measure U?

If Measure U doesn’t pass, projects will be placed on hold at various stages of design until a dedicated funding source is identified. Parks and creek restoration projects will have extremely limited funding sources for improvements. Without Measure U, the City will not have the funding required to meet the building electrification goals of the Equitable Climate Action Plan.

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