sf-americas-cup.jpgGov. Jerry Brown Friday signed a bill that officials say will allow San Francisco to finance waterfront improvements in preparation for the 2013 America’s Cup.

AB 664, introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, will allow the City and County of San Francisco to create a special waterfront infrastructure financing district and issue bonds without seeking approval from voters. The funds will be used in part to build a new cruise ship terminal at Pier 27, which will host cruise ships that will provide additional lodging for race attendees.

Speaking at Pier 27, which will serve as the starting and ending points for the international yacht race, Brown said the bill would cut red tape and streamline the funding and development process.

“This bill gives San Francisco the flexibility it needs to finance important waterfront improvements,” Brown said. “The Port of San Francisco is a beautiful urban coastline, but its infrastructure needs a lot of work.”

The bill’s signing was attended by current San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and two former San Francisco mayors, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown, as well as by Speaker of the Assembly John Perez.

The America’s Cup is expected to draw more than 450,000 visitors, create more than 8,000 jobs and generate $1.2 billion in economic activity, according to proponents.

Newsom, who helped push through the agreement for the city to host the event in his final days as mayor, said analysis from past America’s Cup events showed the projected benefits were, if anything, understated.

“We’re in a state with close to 2.2 million people unemployed,” said Newsom, who helped push through the agreement for the city to host the America’s Cup in his final days as mayor. “We’ve got to get people back to work.”

“This international event will create hundreds of new jobs and generate millions of dollars in economic activity for the entire Bay Area and the state of California,” Ammiano said.

“This is a unique opportunity to showcase all that San Francisco offers to the world.”

While he was in San Francisco today, Brown also signed a bill that would require Amazon and other online retailers to collect sales tax starting next year if no national legislation regarding online sales tax is passed.

The bill, AB 155, includes a delay to Sept. 15, 2012 before taxes must start being collected so that online retailers have time to push for national legislation. In return for this compromise, Amazon has pledged to create at least 10,000 full-time jobs and hire 25,000 seasonal employees in California by the end of 2015, Brown said.

“A prolonged, costly ballot battle is a benefit to no one,” said Brown, speaking at the headquarters of Gap Inc. this morning. “This landmark legislation not only levels the playing field between online retailers and California’s brick and mortar businesses, it will also create tens of thousands of jobs and inject hundreds of millions of dollars back into critical services like education and public safety in future years.”

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