The old saying that a rising tide lifts all boats does not take into account the modern challenges sea level rise poses to our businesses here in the Bay. As a result of our changing climate, it’s anticipated that San Francisco Bay tides will rise at least half a foot by 2030, jeopardizing billions of dollars of assets and directly and putting hundreds of thousands of residents in harm’s way. Some of the Bay Area’s biggest companies, including SVLG member companies Google, Meta and Cisco, are also at risk. Scientists say we have eight years to get as much of the Bay’s wetlands restored as possible before sea level rise makes the work harder — not to mention more expensive.
So with another record state budget surplus, SVLG partnered with Save the Bay, the Bay Area Council, Together Bay Area, Valley Water, and San Mateo County to make a push for critical funding for flood protection and restoration projects to meet the mounting climate related challenges we are now experiencing. We rallied local elected leaders throughout the Bay whose cities are directly impacted by rising waters and met with Bay Area legislators to champion additional funding. As a result of our efforts, this year’s budget deal has a historic $120 million dollar commitment dedicated to address Seal Level Rise in the San Francisco Bay.
This money will go towards protecting an estimated 355,000 Bay Area residents who live in the 100-year floodplain; $46.2 billion in structures; 800 miles of roads and highways; 70 miles of critical rail lines; 46 wastewater plants; 35 schools; and 15 hospitals. SVLG’s advocacy efforts to address sea level rise are a direct continuation of its leadership to help pass Measure AA in 2016, a nine-county, 20-year, $12 per parcel annual tax to restore San Francisco Bay and guard against rising sea levels. All in all, Measure AA will raise about $500 million, but $1.5 billion is needed by 2030 to make sure we are truly prepared. This year’s state’s $120 million dollar budget allocation is a great step to meeting that goal and we will continue to push for more state and federal dollars to complete the job.
For now, we applaud Governor Newsom and the State Legislature for making this critical investment in the Bay. In particular, SVLG would like to thank Senate Budget Chair Nancy Skinner, Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting, Senator Bob Wieckowski, Senator Josh Becker, Senator Mike McGuire, and Assemblymember Kevin Mullin for their work to deliver this funding.