SANDAG Approves 2050 Regional Transportation Plan Despite Possible Lawsuits

by on October 29, 2011 · 7 comments

in San Diego

SANDAG meeting, October 28 2011. Photo by Hugh Moore

By Hugh Moore / Special to the OB Rag

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) voted this morning to approve the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). This planned 214 billion dollar transportation infrastructure is funded by local, state and federal funds that are granted to SANDAG as long as certain environmental goals are met. Unfortunately the required goals will most likely not be met.

In the meeting this morning SANDAG presented the proposed plan and had many organizations that had worked on the development of the plan try to show that the goals and requirements mandated by accepting the funds would be met.

After the presentation the floor was opened up to comments from the floor where the first speaker was Representative Bob Filner. Rep. Filner started his comments by stating that he had worked with SANDAG in the development of the plan and had assisted in the procurement of millions of federal dollars that would be part of the funding of the plan. However, he then pointed out that the current RTP does not meet the required environmental standards that must be met in the completion of the plan which may result in the local governments being sued for spending SANDAG funds inappropriately. Rep. Filner pointed out that the California Attorney General Kamala Harris had actually written a letter to SANDAG pointing out the deficiencies in the plan and her opinion was that going ahead with the plan as written may lead to multiple lawsuits.

There were over 50 people who had requested to speak to SANDAG so speakers were limited to 1 minute apiece. Many organizations were represented speaking against the RTP including the Sierra Club, Duncan McFetridge of SOFAR, the San Diego County Green Party, Masada Disenhouse of San Diego and many others. Some of the concerns of the speakers against the RTP were that the plan calls for adding lanes to north Highway 5 (increasing sprawl), doesn’t decrease green house gas emissions as its required to and continues to leave increased particulate pollution in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

There were some organizations that spoke in favor of the RTP such as San Diego building associations and some local unions as the RTP will create local jobs and open up new areas for building houses.

In spite of the multiple concerns raised by many speakers at the meeting SANDAG did take a vote and it passed almost unanimously. I hope that members of the San Diego community will remember Attorney Harris’ below words years from now when the goals of the RTP are not met and hold the political officials that voted for the RTP accountable:

“What the DEIR (draft environmental impact report) shows is that the suite of strategies relied on by SANDAG, which include a heavy reliance on roadway expansion projects, does not deliver GHG (green house gas) reductions that are sustainable in the long term. In fact, infrastructure land use decisions made in the early years of the RTP may lock in transportation inefficiencies and preclude any realistic possibility of meeting the Executive Order’s goal of an 80% reduction in GHG emissions.”

On another topic, Occupy San Diego (OccupySD) was raided by the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) early Friday evening before the SANDAG meeting. SANDAG is made up of representatives (Mayors or City Council members) from nearly every city council in San Diego County and members of the Board of Supervisors of San Diego County. This past week the San Diego City Council meeting was disrupted by members of OccupySD protesting the Council’s refusal to take action on a proposal that the Council support the occupation. Many members of OccupySD has planned to attend the SANDAG meeting and express their concern that the current RTP seemed to serve the 1% (highway expansion helping to increase builders profits, increased pollution to disadvantaged communities) and did not protect the 99%. As far as I’m aware there was no planned protest to disrupt the meeting but doesn’t it seem likely that the timing of the raid was done so to protect this extremely high profile public meeting?

I find it hard to believe that the SDPD decided on its own to raid OccupySD so who does make that decision? The Mayor, perhaps (a member of SANDAG and he was present at the meeting)? Even if OccupySD was not able to attend the SANDAG meeting if my assumption is correct OccupySD has altered the political climate of the county and will continue to do so as long as they occupy the Civic Center.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Murtaza October 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Supervisor Ron Roberts made the motion to adopt SANDAG plan and Mayor Jerry Sanders seconded the motion. Very likely both were involved in decision to raid Occupy San Diego the night before, as the City’s PD and County Sheriff work for them.


avatar Jack October 29, 2011 at 5:26 pm

In many ways, San Diego is owned and operated by the 1%. They used their power to pass a plan which would take our tax dollars and support development projects away from where they are needed. A handful of groups “greenwashed” the plan to give it the appearance that it is balanced. San Diego is already 30-40 years behind other modern cities when it comes to transit development. We need the 50-10 transit plan now. Gary Gallegos of SANDAG and the Mayor used all their power in an effort to silence the people. Occupy SD are peaceful citizens who what to change the way things have been and build a better economy, community and county.


avatar Ron October 29, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Why don’t you spend some time down there walking in the urine-soaked filth before you side with this group…?


avatar Shelly Schwartlander October 29, 2011 at 6:58 pm

North County with its I-5 expansions while it gets the express buses and Coaster and other fast transit alternatives, will hold OB and other communities near downtown hostage forever that won’t get express buses even and won’t be helped at all by the empty victory. Each such “victory” hurts OB more as buses routes and times are reduced & riders are forced to go to Old Town Transit Center to wait and waste their lives (and money now with no transfers!) 7 miles to d’town takes longer from OB than it takes to get to Rancho Bernardo and even Oceanside often & I am never surprised at car theft from around here. It’s like Houston was when cops told me somebody stole my car “probably just to get to a job downtown, day labor or something” and at $5.00 a trip, to go 7 miles if you don’t have much time or know the exact schedule to get there in less then 1 1/2 hours shouldn’t be any surprise to anybody, especially now that this plan that has to fail will suck up the transit $ through about 2050. MTS went out and bought the cadillacs of trolleys from Germany instead of the nice little ones from Korea like L.A. bought and we’ll be stuck with that expense too. Hitch-hike baby and/or Carjackings #1 in the country: San Diego


avatar Louisa Golden October 30, 2011 at 7:31 am

Good post, Shelly. That works out to about 4.6 miles per hour. You could almost walk that fast, certainly run that fast and it would definitely be faster to take a bike. But only if you are physically able and have nothing to carry and can arrive at your destination tired, hot and sweaty. Not an option for most of us.

30 years ago, I figured out that I could bike from USCD to home in University Heights faster than take the bus. 30 years ago, I sometimes did just that. It’s appalling to me to think San Diego has the same inadequate transit system we had three decades ago.

The I-5 is a monster and they want it make it bigger? Wow.



avatar invisible October 29, 2011 at 10:31 pm

one minute a piece to speak! my, my, aren’t they generous.

San Diego’s air pollution among worst in nation


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