Rep. Juan Vargas speaks while San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria (left), Rep. Scott Peters and Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas listen. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Six local elected officials representing offices from Congress to City Council gathered at a recently renovated trolley station Wednesday to rally support for the Measure A road and transit improvements.

“Without Measure A, the commuting times are only going to get longer,” warned Rep. Juan Vargas, who represents the South Bay in Washington.

He was joined at the E Street Transit Center in Chula Vista by Rep. Scott Peters, State Sen. Ben Hueso, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas, National City Mayor Ron Morrison and San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria.

Measure A would increase the countywide sales tax by half a cent for 40 years to fund $18 billion in transportation improvements, including a new trolley line from San Ysidro to Kearny Mesa, new carpool lanes, and bicycle and open-space projects. Almost a third of the money would be used for local road improvements such as adding two lanes to Route 56 and improving the Route 78/Interstate 5 junction.

Peters said approval of Measure A would allow SANDAG, the regional planning agency, to tap more than $25 billion in matching state and federal grants for transportation projects in the county. “This ballot measure is good for local families and local businesses,” he said.

Morrison, whose city has two trolley stations, said approval of the measure could result in improved transit schedules as soon as next April.

The measure has wide, but not complete support among elected officials in the county. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is opposed, but has not actively campaigned against the measure. Some environmental groups also oppose the measure, saying too much money would be spent on roads.

“There’s a lot on this ballot…Measure A’s a no-brainer,” said Gloria, who said repaired potholes, reduced waits for buses and more frequent transit service on weekends would be among the benefits.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.