Rendering of the double express lanes planned for Interstate 5. Courtesy SANDAG
Rendering of the double express lanes envisioned for Interstate 5 in future years. Courtesy SANDAG

By Ron Roberts

We have a simple message for San Diego County residents: We want to hear your priorities for our neighborhoods, and for our entire region.

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Do you want to see more investment in new and improved transit services, strengthening the highway network, or funding upgrades to local roads, bikeways, or sidewalks? Do you want your investment to reduce the risk of wildfires? Or perhaps focus on cleaning up lakes, rivers and beaches, and restoring the region’s overall water quality?

The answers to these questions couldn’t be more critical than they are right now as leaders from throughout the county consider a funding measure that could help pay for some of our regional priorities.

In October, elected leaders from around the county — working under the auspices of the San Diego Association of Governments, commonly known as SANDAG — approved an ambitious, long-range plan to help guide our growth as the region adds nearly a million more people, half a million jobs, and 300,000 homes over the next 35 years — all while preserving the quality of life we all hold dear.

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That plan — called San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan — was crafted to help improve and sustain healthy communities, protect environmental resources, implement innovative mobility and planning efforts, and promote a vibrant economy that benefits us all.

That plan outlines a variety of projects and programs designed to give residents choices when it comes to their daily travel plans — everything from transit, light rail and highway improvements, to environmental mitigation and preservation efforts, and investments in the region’s bikeways and walkways, to promote active transportation options for all residents.

SANDAG is now considering placing a measure on the November ballot that would raise funds to help implement the plan, as well as other important infrastructure improvements across the region. The measure would ask voters in San Diego County to increase our local sales tax by up to one-half cent.

This isn’t money for a general fund. This would be funding dedicated to specific projects and programs listed in the measure itself.

Are projects like these important to you? Are there other infrastructure needs that have yet to be identified? We need to know.

There are several easy ways to make sure your voice is heard in the coming months. These include:

Joining a Telephone Town Hall Meeting

SANDAG will host several large-scale regional conference calls focusing on important projects and programs that could be completed throughout region. Everyone is welcome to join these calls, weigh in with their priorities, and be part of the dialog. The calls will be held in the following order:

North County Inland and East County
Tuesday, Jan. 26 from 6-7 p.m.

Central San Diego and South County
Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 6-7 p.m.

North County Coastal and North San Diego
Thursday, Jan. 28 from 6-7 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 1 from 6-7 p.m. / Lunes, 01 de febrero de 6-7 p.m.

At the time of the calls, dial 1 (877) 229-8493 and enter access code 112664.

Selecting Your Priorities Online

Share your priorities with SANDAG by taking a quick online survey about the types of projects and programs that are most important to you. Visit

Attending Key Public Meetings

Provide your input in person at SANDAG Board and Committee meetings:

  • Friday, February 5 at 9 a.m. — SANDAG Transportation Committee meeting
  • Friday, February 5 at 12 p.m. — SANDAG Regional Planning Committee meeting
  • Friday, February 12 at 10 a.m. — SANDAG Board of Directors meeting
  • Thursday, March 10 at 10 a.m. — SANDAG Board of Directors Retreat
  • Friday, March 25 at 9 a.m. — SANDAG Board of Directors meeting

All meetings take place in the 7th floor SANDAG Board Room at 401 B Street in San Diego, except the SANDAG Board Retreat, which will be held at Barona, 1932 Wildcat Canyon Road in Lakeside.

There are challenges ahead – but also opportunities. By addressing them proactively, we can make our region stronger, healthier and more vibrant. The question is how should we go about it?

Ron Roberts serves as chair of the SANDAG board of directors and of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.