In 2004, voters were asked to approve a 40-year extension of the 1/2 cent TransNet sales tax to fund regional road and infrastructure projects. The tax will be collected until 2048.
The ballot question, which specifically identified improvements to routes 52, 56, 78, and I-805, was passed by a 2-1 margin, with 67% voting in favor. You can read the actual ballot language here.
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is now proposing to scrap those promised improvements and invest 100% of TransNet into mass transit.
Mass transit is critical to our long-term needs and important toward reducing emissions and combatting climate change. However, these projects were approved by voters, and SANDAG’s proposal does nothing to alleviate the traffic congestion on these important regional transportation routes.
To date, only 6% of the TransNet funds have gone to the promised road projects, while 66% has been invested in mass transit. That means 89% of the tax revenues are going to just 3% of commuters.
Additionally, there are public safety issues, not least of all the expansion of Route 67, a critical roadway to evacuate residents during wildfires, as well as access for firefighters.
I support a balanced proposal that addresses long-term investments in mass transit, while providing the promised improvements to our regional roads. The North Coast Corridor in Solana Beach where I-5 expansion meets Coaster double-tracking and lagoon restoration is a perfect example of the balance we should be achieving. SANDAG should keep its promise to voters and I will work to make sure that happens.