SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CA – The Board of Directors of the San Diego Association of Governments on Friday approved the 2021 Regional Transport Plan without the controversial road tax, but questions remain about how the $ 160 billion regional transportation agency will fund the plan.
2022 չորս 2028 tax on mileage for road use proposed և Two and a half cents regional sales tax were some of the key financing strategies proposed by SANDAG’s management. SANDAG has estimated that road tax could raise more than $ 34 billion by 2050, but the agency’s chief economist, Ray Major, said the final figures would change when the scope was limited to a 2030 proposal.
However, last week the elected leadership of SANDAG, in particular the Mayor of Encinitas, the Chairman of the Board, Catherine Blackspire, the Mayor of San Diego, Todd Gloria, and the Mayor of the National City, Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, stated that they did not support the road tax.
“This is a visionary program that needs broad public support to implement,” said Blackspire. “Payment for the use of roads is one of the far-reaching options for replacing the gas tax.
And although the principles underlying such an accusation are well understood, the mechanism of its application is not.
“The fee for the success of the project is unnecessary,” he said. “That is why I asked the council leadership to withdraw it from the regional plan,” the council agreed. “
Democratic dissent over the road use plan seemed to be a fatal blow to the plan, but the council, made up of representatives from 18 communities in the county in general, reduced the tax and adopted the plan. From 57.8% to 42.1%. The council weighs the votes of the city’s population in proportion. Representatives of Carlsbad, Coronado, El Cajon, Auschwitz, Puy, San Marcos, Sante և Vista all voted against.
“This regional program makes the impossible possible,” Blackspire said. “It’s exciting to be here on the brink of real change.
“Today’s vote, confirming the greenest transport plan in the history of our region, was not historic,” he said. “We are pursuing the vision of changing our transportation system by providing more choices for our region.”
Under state law, the transportation plan was to be adopted by the end of the year and should show plans to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Following the vote on the plan, the board instructed SANDAG staff to find alternative financing solutions for tolls.
Environmental groups cited the decision, which they said was a giant first step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing air pollution and meeting the needs of the minorities most affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.
“The planet is burning, our current transportation system is greatly contributing to the fire, it is damaging our lungs, it is destroying the low-income colored communities that depend most on it,” said Carolina Martinez, director of climate justice at the Environmental Health Coalition. He said 93% of low-income people in San Diego “do not have access to fast, frequent transit, and the 2021 Regional Plan provides a vital way to change that.”
The other groups were concerned that the deal to complete the plan had been carried out out of the public eye.
“Whether you vote for or against, there must be a formal, transparent process before the SANDAG board meets, where each of you, as representatives of your agencies, will gather your opinion from the elected community leaders, the voters you represent together. Said Hannie Hong, president and executive director of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, during his testimony during the meeting. “Without debate in your member agency, there is no guarantee that you are simply not voting for your own priorities.”
Conservative groups have rejected not only the price, but also the perceived injustice of how the program will be funded, who will carry the burden, and for what purpose.
“The only ‘regional’ thing about the SANDAG Regional Transport Plan is the financial burden that will be borne by every resident in the area,” said Steve Vaus, former mayor of Pouway and former SANDAG board member. “For people living in the North or East, they will pay taxes on something they will never use, public transportation.”
One of the projects outlined in the program is the Central Mobility Unit, which will provide a direct transit connection with the San Diego County Airport. By moving the train lines in Del Mar Bluff to a tunnel, building a connected bicycle-walking network, significantly increasing the frequency of bus and trolleybus routes throughout the country. In addition, the plan provides that transit will be free for all cyclists for a decade.
– City press service