The board of directors of the San Diego Association of Governments is scheduled to decide Friday whether to place a measure on the November ballot that would boost funding for infrastructure projects around the county.
SANDAG proposes to raise the sales tax countywide by a half-cent, with funds paying for freeway projects, road repairs, public transit, management of open space and complying with state water quality mandates.
The $18.2 billion plan has drawn opposition from environmental groups and organized labor, who contend that spending on freeway and road projects would worsen climate change.
The opposition is likely to include San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. The mayor’s office issued a statement saying the measure isn’t worth a tax increase of that size.
City councils in La Mesa, Poway and Escondido also oppose the plan, and Brian Brady in a post on sdrostra.com said: “This is one of those rare times in politics where the moral and the practical actually intersect. Why wouldn’t every Republican in the county want to go on record of being a taxpayer champion?”
Democratic Councilman Todd Gloria and Republican county Supervisor Ron Roberts, who chairs the SANDAG board, are expected to vote in favor of the plan.
“I will continue to support SANDAG’s funding measure because you can’t implement our city’s Climate Action Plan or fix our infrastructure without a way to pay for it,” the councilman said.
“Voting no on this plan means turning down $7.5 billion for transit, $2 billion for San Diego infrastructure, and over $500 million for bike projects,” Gloria said. “Regional elected leaders have worked and come together in support of this measure because our constituents want and deserve better.”
According to a poll taken about one month ago, 68 percent of 1,200 respondents were inclined to vote for the measure when read the proposed ballot summary — above the two-thirds that would be necessary for passage of a tax hike.
However, when the respondents were given arguments for and against the plan, support dropped to 62 percent, below the threshold.
If the SANDAG board decides to go ahead with the plan, it could be the third major ballot measure voters would consider in November. The Chargers are collecting signatures for their plan to build a stadium and convention center annex in the East Village, while signatures are being verified on a multi- faceted initiative that would, among other things, clear the way for a university expansion at the Qualcomm Stadium site.
— City News Service contributed to this report.