I-805 Palomar Bridge DAR construction. Photo courtesy of SANDAG

The San Diego Association of Governments Board of Directors on Friday voted to appeal to the state Supreme Court a recent appellate ruling that rejected its schedule of transportation projects through 2050.

Last month, a three-judge appellate panel split 2-1 against SANDAG’s Regional Transportation Plan, with the majority saying the plan did not meet state requirements for reducing greenhouse emissions.

Environmental groups have opposed SANDAG’s plan, contending it prioritizes freeway expansion over public transportation.

“We’ve done our absolute best to follow the law in everything we’ve done,” said Santee Councilman Jack Dale, the SANDAG board chairman. “At this point, the law needs to be clarified — not just for our region, but for every planning agency and city in California.”

The SANDAG board is made up of elected officials from local cities and the county of San Diego, and representatives of major local entities like the Navy.

The organization’s 2050 RTP was finalized in 2011, but its environmental impact report was challenged in court by the Cleveland National Forest Foundation and other environmental groups.

In a statement, the foundation said it was disappointed that SANDAG chose to appeal.

“It is a waste of our community’s financial resources, and will cause additional delays to the work of SANDAG staff to develop comprehensive transit- first transportation scenarios to serve all of San Diego County,” the statement said. “We are, however, incredibly encouraged by the increasing numbers of engaged San Diegans who demand these elected representatives use our regional transportation budget to prioritize transit and bike infrastructure.”

SANDAG said it is required to update the RTP every four years, a process it’s employees are currently working on.

— City News Service

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