The bill would not only give each of the cities on the SANDAG board a vote proportional to their population — making San Diego and Chula Vista far more powerful — it would make San Diego’s mayor the permanent chair of both SANDAG and the Metropolitan Transit System.
The cost of SANDAG’s highest-profile projects, the Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project to extend the Blue Line north to the UCSD campus, is especially high for a light-rail project. But there is a change SANDAG could consider that would reduce the price tag and take advantage of both existing light-rail lines and the Coaster rail line.
In this week’s podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts talk about SANDAG’s botched numbers and what it could mean for the future of transportation in the region.
Only through an exhaustive independent investigation of SANDAG with an investigator chosen by outside stakeholders, an apology issued by the board for deceiving San Diego families and meaningful reform to the agency’s governing structure can the agency restore trust.
SANDAG not only overstated how much money it would collect through the TransNet sales tax hike voters passed in 2004, Voice of San Diego’s Andrew Keatts has discovered the agency also severely understated the cost of local transportation projects it would fund. The agency updated the cost of projects right when it updated the faulty forecasting […]
For more than a year, SANDAG did not disclose an $8.4 billion cost increase facing the projects included in TransNet, its tax-funded transportation infrastructure program. Together with a forecasting error the agency also failed to disclose, the problems mean TransNet is $17.5 billion short.
The investigation will attempt to determine who in the agency knew its forecasts were wildly overestimating how much revenue an existing sales tax, and another proposed one, would generate for regional transportation projects – and when they knew it.
SANDAG told voters that Transnet, a sales tax hike passed in 2004, would bring in $14 billion. The agency’s new forecast, which fixes a fatal flaw, shows it’s on track to bring in only $9 billion. Measure A, if it had passed in November, would have brought in $14 billion, not the $18 billion sold to voters.
Seven board members say they weren’t told SANDAG’s Measure A sales tax estimates were wrong – an error that led to voters being sold a false promise – and are calling for an independent review.
The saga involving the San Diego Association of Governments can get convoluted pretty quickly. First, there’s the fact that SANDAG is not too familiar to many people. Then there’s the fact that the scandal centers on some complex stuff, namely economic forecasts and what goes into them. The fundamental issue at hand, though, is not complex: A powerful government agency knowingly misled the public. And that’s worth understanding.