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  • What is the CIP?

    The Capital Improvement Plan, or CIP, describes the capital improvements and major maintenance projects currently planned or identified for the next five years. It is informed by a variety of efforts to identify and prioritize infrastructure needs such as community and stakeholder input, strategic plans and studies, and staff inspections.

  • What is a Capital Project?

    Capital projects included in the CIP are any large-scale, long-term investment that builds, replaces, or improves an asset (e.g., roads, traffic signals, sewer, drainage lines). Projects could include the installation of a new traffic signal to improve safety; a bike lane to improve connectivity for customers and safety near schools; or the installation of storm drains to prevent flooding. The current CIP identifies 163 projects and/or long-term planning needs.

  • How are projects formed/prioritized?

    Projects are formed and prioritized on the basis of the following criteria:

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  • Are maintenance projects part of the Capital Improvement Plan?

    The CIP includes major maintenance projects, such as regular road repaving and resurfacing. However, the majority of DPW’s day-to-day maintenance projects are typically smaller in cost and scale and address more urgent short-term repairs to ensure vital County assets remain operational. For urgent maintenance requests (e.g., potholes, graffiti removal, etc.), you can navigate to the DPW’s HELPLINES.

  • How does a Capital Project get added to the Capital Improvement Plan?
    When you boil it down, projects are identified from three main sources:
    • Strategic plans are professionally prepared reports analyzing portfolios of existing infrastructure, its condition, location, and any gaps in service provision. These plans often include data-driven recommendation for new infrastructure or replacement of existing infrastructure. Example strategic plans that have been used to identify projects on the CIP include the Airport Capital Improvement Plan, Local Roads Safety Plan, and the Green Streets Clean Water Plan.


    • Operational & major maintenance needs play the largest role in project identification. Staff continually assess the condition of facilities, such as roads, bridges, and storm drains to evaluate safety and wear and tear on the infrastructure. All assets are evaluated and ranked to determine the highest infrastructure needs and the most pressing needs are added to the CIP. 
    • Community input is a key input often used to identify and prioritize projects for implementation. Community input is gathered directly from community members or from established committees such as the 28 Community Planning and Sponsor Groups, whose purpose is to make recommendations to County decision makers. Engaging community members is a top priority for DPW and we plan to continue reaching out to the public on an ongoing basis to collect valuable input from the diverse range of voices and perspectives in our unincorporated communities.

    Part of the planning process means making hard choices. The recommended 2023-24 Capital Improvement Plan strikes a balance between:

    • The condition of assets 
    • Community needs 
    • Operational needs 
    • State and federal regulations 
    • Strategic initiatives and assessments
    • Project readiness 
    • Available funding 
    • And a consideration of equity to address disparities


  • DPW’s infrastructure investments contribute to a sustainable environment in a variety of ways:
    • We are making strategic investments in green stormwater infrastructure. These projects remove pollutants from stormwater runoff before it can enter local waterways. Biofiltration basins, tree wells, pervious pavement, and trash capture devices are examples of green infrastructure elements that you may find in a project. A variety of planning efforts, including the County’s Green Streets Clean Water Plan, help identify cost-effective projects. 
    • An important area of focus for DPW moving forward will be to identify public infrastructure improvements that can help facilitate development in key infill and VMT-efficient areas such as the communities of Sweetwater, Buena Creek, Lakeside, and Spring Valley.
    • In the current Capital Improvement Plan, we have identified 33 projects that help to address climate change, protect water resources, and create opportunities for community members to thrive.
  • How are projects funded?

    The CIP is funded by a variety of sources and most of these sources are not interchangeable between different types of infrastructure. For example, we cannot use fees collected from our sewer customers to improve a road. Of these funding sources, the General Fund can be used on the widest array of projects. Other funding sources, such as Development Fees, have specific, legally restricted uses. DPW assesses need and prioritizes projects, in part, based on the funding available from these sources, and also actively pursues grant and other competitive funding opportunities.

    The Department of Public Works Project Development Section consists of project management teams, team leaders, design engineers, utility and right of way coordinators, and a contract administration group.

    The Project Development Sections is responsible for overall management and coordination of planning, budget, design, environmental clearance and permitting, right-of-way acquisition and utility coordination for a wide variety of capital projects. Funds are approved by the Board of Supervisors annually, and in a typical fiscal year, over 160 active projects are in various stages of completion.

How are projects funded? (click to enlarge)

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  • How is the County investing in infrastructure in underserved communities?

    DPW is committed to applying an equitable lens in service delivery and program design to provide economic opportunities for underserved communities. In the current CIP, almost 55% of the planned projects are located within underserved communities in the unincorporated area. Some examples of projects include addressing flooding issues through the installation of drainage pipe, improving safe pedestrian access through the installation of sidewalks, increasing safety through the installation of traffic signals, and constructing roundabouts to improve traffic safety.

  • What does the County do with public input?
    • It is a reality for most all public agencies that the demand for infrastructure improvements exceeds available funding. This is why DPW must be intentional and strategic in identifying and prioritizing investments based on various criteria and community input.
    • Community input is critical in identifying communities’ real needs, as articulated by community members, to determine priority capital investments. Input is used to both identify projects and to shape how projects are designed.
    • DPW staff also present the CIP recommendations to the Board of Supervisors as part of the development process. This is another opportunity for community members to engage directly in the decision-making process.
    • In 2023, we are holding five public outreach meetings to inform customers about the CIP and engage you for future planning cycles. Look for additional community meetings this Spring and sign up to receive information.


    • Sign up (Choose the Department of Public Work’s Capital Improvement Plan subscription) to receive updated information.


  • How can you participate in the capital planning process?

    Sign up (Choose the Department of Public Work’s Capital Improvement Plan subscription) to receive updated information
    Participate in future DPW planning meetings and contribute your feedback
    Share information and ideas with your community planning groups
    Ask questions, submit project ideas, and connect with us! We want to hear from you.

  • How is the CIP different from the budget?

    The Board of Supervisors annually approves a two-year Operational Plan that includes funding for capital improvement projects as part of DPW’s budget. The CIP is a longer-range plan, spanning five years, which identifies capital improvement needs and ongoing projects. While many of the projects in the CIP are considered funded because funding has already been secured or is anticipated to be secured from ongoing or anticipated revenue sources, there are many specific projects and general capital improvement needs that are only partially funded or have yet to secure funding. Whether funded or unfunded, projects are included in the CIP to help communicate overall needs and priorities. This helps DPW plan for future needs and supports efforts to seek State and federal grants. So, while the annual Operational Plan and Budget sets the priorities and the expected outcomes for each year, the CIP helps DPW plan for the years to come.