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$700 Billion or $700 Million?

While lawmakers in Washington haggle over a $700 billion bailout for financial institutions, City of Alameda officials are bracing for a request from SunCal Companies for roughly $700 million to subsidize infrastructure development at Alameda Point.

In their draft infrastructure plan, (Warning! It’s a huge file!) SunCal estimates that replacing infrastructure – roads, sewers, utlities, etc. – at Alameda Point will cost $679 million, or roughly $700 million. SunCal clearly doesn’t intend to fund this themselves – they’ve already indicated that they intend to ask for tax increment financing. That is, they want the City of Alameda to pay for this infrastructure upgrade by issuing bonds through the redevelopment agency that city taxpayers will have to re-pay over decades.

Are there other uses for Alameda Point that would not require such a heavy infrastructure upgrade burden? Building housing would seem to be the most intensive use of Alameda Point and would require the highest subsidies to make it viable. What about re-use of the property for light-industry, to create sustained local jobs – not just temporary construction jobs – and potentially minimize the taxpayer-funded subsidies to upgrade infrastructure?

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