The $177 billion project
Last updated 8/27/2020 at 7:40am
In 2004, San Diegans voted to extend a half-cent sales tax for 40 years starting in 2008. In exchange SANDAG promised to build mass transit projects and also relieve traffic congestion by making critical highway improvements to Routes 78, 67, 94, 125, 805 and 52 and many other major San Diego highways. Those promised projects have not come to fruition.
After spending over two-thirds of the transportation dollars in the last decade on mass transit, public transit ridership has actually declined. And we can all see it: trolleys and buses run empty on a daily basis, with just over 3% of our population using public transit. That was all before COVID-19. Now, because of the pandemic, there’s even more of a decline in public transit with no end in sight.
Over the past couple of years, SANDAG has talked about creating a “big bold vision” which would rely heavily on public transportation. The cost of that plan was announced recently at an astronomical $177 billion.
To put that in perspective, the Three Gorges Dam, which is the largest in the world, cost $32 billion, the International Space Station cost $150 billion and even the proposed California bullet train, which is a boondoggle, is an estimated $80.3 billion.
SANDAG’s transportation “vision” has SR-78 losing a general-purpose lane. That means that if you can’t carpool, you will have only two lanes to use. Now imagine trying to drive from Oceanside to Escondido on a Friday afternoon. But I guess the city of San Diego will have a Grand Central station.
How many times will San Diegans be taxed for new promises on top of broken promises and still sit in traffic? A functioning road network is an essential element of our economy.