SANDAG Approves ‘Historic’ Transportation Plan

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) approved its 2021 Regional Transportation Plan on Friday, following more than a year of deliberation. The $162.5 billion plan leaves out a controversial four-cents-per-mile road usage tax and two half-cent regional sales tax proposals.

Encinitas Mayor and Board Chairwoman Catherine Blakespear, as well as San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis — vice chairs — announced their opposition to the road usage tax earlier this month. SANDAG has directed staff to find alternative funding streams.

Blakespear said Friday’s “historic” vote would usher in “the greenest transportation plan in our region’s history.” Under state law, a plan that significantly cuts greenhouse gas emissions needed to be adopted by the end of the year.

“Among the projects outlined in the plan are a Central Mobility Hub — which will provide a direct transit connection to the San Diego County Airport – – relocating the train tracks on the Del Mar Bluffs into a tunnel, building a connected biking and walking network and substantially increasing the route frequencies of buses and trolleys countywide. Additionally, the plan envisions that transit will be free for all riders within a decade,” City News Service reports.

The plan includes the conversion of 819 miles of roads into managed toll roads. SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata has said the plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20.4%.

While environmental groups lauded the plan, Republicans called it irresponsible. The final vote was 11-8 with the representatives of Carlsbad, Coronado, El Cajon, Oceanside, Poway, San Marcos, Santee and Vista voting no.

San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond blasted the board for adopting a 30-year overhaul without a plan to pay for all of it.

Eventually, “it’ll just be tax on top of tax on top of tax to try to get us out of our cars and into transit” he told KUSI.

Read the 2021 Regional Plan for yourself here.


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