Gridlock on Interstate 5 in North County. Courtesy SANDAG

A ballot measure that would have raised the sales tax countywide by a half-cent to fund infrastructure improvements in the San Diego region gained the support of a majority of voters but fell short of the threshold necessary for passage.

Measure A, developed by the San Diego Association of Governments, required a two-thirds “yes” vote to pass, but only garnered about 57 percent support.

SANDAG estimated the tax would have raised $18 billion over 40 years to pay for a wide variety of projects.

The 18 cities in the region would have had discretion to use the revenue on road and pothole repairs, fixing sidewalks and open space acquisition.

Other projects listed under the ballot measure include freeway and connector improvements, addition of carpool lanes, extending a trolley line to Kearny Mesa, increasing trolley frequency, synchronizing traffic signals and separating road and rail grades so vehicles don’t have to stop for trains.

San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria, who won an Assembly seat, told City News Service he was heartened by the support the measure received, but disappointed by the result.

“That means more San Diegans are going to hit potholes, they’re going to (worsen) traffic, they’re not going to have access to public transit and a lot of our open space is going to be unprotected,” said Gloria, who helped lead the campaign. “We have to figure out another way to put something back up on the ballot — our region needs it.”

Opponents would rather that mass transit projects be given a higher priority. They also contended that the city of San Diego would be unable to meet the goals of its climate action plan if the measure passes, and the region would not achieve state climate change targets.

The other countywide question on the ballot, Measure B, which would have authorized a 608-acre development in the Lilac Hills section of Valley Center, was also rejected.

While it involved just one project, Measure B could have had a much broader impact on future land use planning in the region. The project included more than 1,700 housing units, commercial areas and parks in the inland North County.

Supporters contended the project is necessary because of a housing shortage that has sent the cost of housing in San Diego County through the roof. Opponents said the project goes against the county’s general zoning plan and would have exacerbated urban sprawl.

– City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

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