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California Governor Brown Signs Law to Help San Francisco Finance America’s Cup Infrastructure

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on Friday signed AB 664 (Ammiano) to finance improvements the Port of San Francisco needs to host the 2013 America’s Cup yacht race, considered along with the Olympics and the World Cup to be one of the world’s top sporting events. Brown said the race, which is projected to bring 450,000 visitors, more than 8,000 jobs and $1.2 billion in economic activity, will put “wind in the sails” of the port’s revitalization.

“This bill gives San Francisco the flexibility it needs to finance important waterfront improvements,” said Governor Brown. “The Port of San Francisco is a beautiful urban coastline, but its infrastructure needs a lot of work. By helping the city build capacity to play host to the world’s premier maritime event, this law is going to put wind in the sails of waterfront revitalization and bring tourism and jobs to San Francisco.”

In addition to providing financing for the America’s Cup “village” and spectator seating, plans for the new infrastructure financing district include construction of a cruise ship terminal at Pier 27. The terminal will host cruise ships that will supply additional lodging for attendees, and thereafter provide continuing infrastructural benefits to the Bay Area’s tourism industry.

“With some of the most beautiful coastline in the United States, and world class cities like San Francisco, California is the natural home to the America’s Cup, and our state will be proud to host this event,” said Speaker John A. Pérez. “I thank Assemblymember Tom Ammiano for his efforts in crafting this legislation, and Governor Brown for signing another bill into law that will help create more jobs in California.”

“The signing of AB 664 is a major milestone in our effort to bring the excitement of the 34th America’s Cup events to San Francisco, creating more than 8,000 jobs and over $1 billion in economic impact to the San Francisco Bay Area region,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “I would like to thank Governor Jerry Brown, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, and the State Legislature for partnering with San Francisco to deliver this exciting world class sporting event to California. This will require the collective efforts of more than just one city, and we are thankful to our partners at both the state and federal levels for their important work in job creation and critical infrastructure investment in San Francisco and California.”

“The signing of this significant piece of legislation reaffirms California’s commitment to America’s Cup and provides an opportunity to maximize the potential $1.2 billion economic boost to the region,” said Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. “Not only do we celebrate the economic benefits it will bring to the Bay Area and the State of California, but also the thousands of jobs it will create for Californians ready to work.”

The Infrastructure Financing Districts Act of 1990 allows local governments to divert property tax increment revenues from the Education Revenue Augmentation Fund to build roads and other infrastructure improvements in specified areas. However, the process of forming an infrastructure financing district is lengthy and cumbersome, requiring an extended bureaucratic review process and three separate votes of the people. Without AB 664 – authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) – which streamlines this process by establishing the America’s Cup District through legislative action, the city would not be able to fund the needed improvements in time for the race.

Created in 1851, America’s Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy still in active existence. Last year, San Francisco’s own Golden Gate Yacht Club won America’s Cup in Valencia, Spain, and so will have the honor of hosting the upcoming race. This year, preparations began for a competition in San Francisco in September, 2013, in which the Royal Swedish Yacht Club will challenge the current title holders.

ABOUT THE EDITOR: Valerie Gotten (aka Valerie G) is an abstract painter, former movie stand-in, and volunteers for "green events" to help raise awareness about global warming, and help preserve California's wilderness and natural beauty.

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