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Tribal representation on I-15 IRP supported

The request of the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association to be added to the I-15 Interregional Partnership joint policy committee was endorsed during a San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Borders Committee meeting November 21.

Although the I-15 IRP itself will make the final decision about SCTCA inclusion, the Borders Committee voice vote also approved the inclusion of several other tribal policy issues for upcoming Borders Committee meetings.

SANDAG’s Borders Committee reviews items involving Mexico, Riverside County, Imperial County, and Orange County as well as interaction with Indian reservations.

The tentative Borders Committee topics for the first half of 2009 include an April 24 date to amend the I-15 IRP charter to add the SCTCA along with discussion of other IRP matters at that meeting.

An I-15 IRP joint policy meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 1.

“I just think it’s beneficial to everybody,” said SCTCA executive director Denis Turner, who is a member of the Rincon tribe. “We want to be able to know how we can help if there’s something we can do to help.”

The I-15 Interregional Partnership was formed in 2001 to address the imbalance of jobs and housing between San Diego County and western Riverside County which has led to an increasing number of commuters on Interstate 15 between the two counties.

The primary goal of the partnership is to foster a more sustainable land use pattern providing employment closer to residences and more affordable housing near employment.

The partnership initially included representatives of SANDAG and the Western Riverside Council of Governments.

Other agencies which have become involved include the California Department of Transportation, the Riverside County Transportation Commission, and the Riverside Transit Agency.

The I-8 Corridor Strategic Plan Joint Policy Committee was created earlier this year, and the SCTCA was given representation.

The SCTCA believes that similar representation on the I-15 IRP would allow for input on another corridor of importance to tribal interests.

The Borders Committee invited the SCTCA to submit recommendations on tribal policy issues for the committee’s consideration, and the SCTCA indicated transportation, renewable energy, affordable housing, information sharing protocols for land use and public safety data, and long-term firestorm recovery as items of common interest.

SANDAG and the SCTCA held a Regional San Diego Tribal Summit in 2006, and the SCTCA also expressed an interest in holding another summit during 2009.

The tentative Borders Committee schedule calls for tribal issues related to the San Diego-Imperial County area to be discussed February 27, and the May 22 meeting is slated to focus on tribal issues including transportation, renewable energy, long-term disaster recovery, and planning for a 2009 tribal summit.

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