The Coast News Group

Around the County: We need freeways and roads

We are at a crucial point in the future of San Diego County. There seems to be a growing trend of pushing people out their cars and making them take public transportation, as if driving vehicles is somehow evil.

SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) is in charge of appropriating transportation dollars in our region. It’s made up of the region’s 18 cities and the county.

In 2004, San Diegans voted to extend a half-cent sales tax for 40 years. That tax would generate $14 billion dollars, which SANDAG promised to relieve traffic congestion, improve safety and match state/federal funds by improving, I-5, I-8, I-15, SR 52, SR 54, SR 56, SR 67, SR 76, SR 78, SR 94, SR 125, I-805.

Voters passed this under the impression their commute home would be made faster and easier

This has not happened.

Instead, SANDAG staff front loaded the public transit projects while leaving 14 of the highway projects unfunded.

Now, they’ve announced that they want to implement a new transportation vision. One that doesn’t include roads and freeways, but focuses on transit, even though the current tax San Diegans are paying for promised improvements to roads and freeways.

Mass transit works in the urban core, but freeways and roads are critical to our transportation system. A functioning road network is an essential element of our economy. It’s common sense to know that for the foreseeable future we must have freeways, highways, and roads.

Currently, 3.5% of San Diegans ride public transit, which means the rest of the 96.5% of people need their cars and most importantly need their roads. Children need to get to school, parents need to get to their jobs, this can’t be done strictly using mass transit.

SANDAG must keep faith with promises to voters. The Transnet tax was adopted because the voters were persuaded that the road projects to be funded were critical and going to be funded.

To now break those promises, barely one-fourth of the way into a 40-year plan would be a massive bait and switch.