Heavy traffic on Interstate 5
Heavy traffic on Interstate 5 in North County. Courtesy SANDAG

The two supervisors representing North County are blasting SANDAG‘s new emphasis on transit, saying the regional planning agency is not keeping its promise to voters.

“San Diegans have lost faith in SANDAG,” said Supervisor Kristin Gaspar. “They can’t be trusted to follow through with their promises to voters.”

Gaspar was referring to the 2004 vote that renewed the half-cent TransNet sales tax to fund transportation improvements through the county. The bulk of the money has been earmarked for road projects.

She and Supervisor Jim Desmond called a press conference Monday to complain about the shift and accused SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata of deciding to “arbitrarily change the 40-year plan in favor of a high-speed rail project at the expense of North and East Counties.”

The new SANDAG plan unveiled April 26 called for investing in new transit and networking technology to reduce the region’s reliance on cars in order to meet state-mandated climate goals. Last week, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to urge SANDAG to keep the focus on highways.

“Even with SANDAG’s new vision, 90 percent of people are still going to be in cars,” Desmond said. “We’re only 11 years into a 40-year tax and it is being suggested that
we not do those projects but that the taxpayers continue to pay that tax for the next 29 years.”

The two unveiled a new website — StopTransnetRaid.com — where county residents can voice concerns about the new plan.

Chris Jennewein

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