The San Diego Association of Governments knowingly misled voters in 2004 about how much money it expected to raise from a new sales tax.
The deception allowed the agency to overstate how much it could accomplish for regional transportation, transit operations and local infrastructure projects throughout the county in the coming decades. Voters approved the tax increase – and have been paying more money in taxes for 13 years – based on the false projection that appeared on the ballot.
Voice of San Diego reported in October that SANDAG is now on pace to bring in nearly $5 billion less than the $14 billion it told voters the half-cent sales tax would raise. In December, the agency admitted that was true, but said it was only just then learning of a problem with its revenue forecast, and in February launched an investigation into what went wrong.
But records newly obtained by Voice of San Diego through a public records request show the agency knew back in 2003 that the tax was not expected to raise $14.2 billion.
Nearly a year before the 2004 election, SANDAG’s board officially adopted a long-term economic forecast that differed dramatically from the one it used to sell voters on a TransNet extension. The new forecast, formally approved by the agency’s board of directors in December 2003, suggested a half-cent sales tax would actually raise just $12.9 billion.
Agency leaders never disclosed the change to voters.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
This is not news. This is what self serving government bureaucrats do. Stick it to tax payers and take care of #1. Get as much as they can then coast to retirement on our dime.
There is no reason for SANDAG to exist in its utterly corrupt state.
End it now.
An other area to examine is performance predictions to the public
Example: Sprinter between Escondido and Oceanside was predicted to board 11,500 riders daily. Better than building a two lane SR-78 expansion to reduce congestion.
Result, about 7,000 boardings, mostly former bus riders.
Andrew, any thoughts on the degree to which Gary Gallegos may bear responsibility for this long-running mess? He's been Director since 2001, and for any number of reasons (even going back to his CalTrans days when he fought to widen Rt 163 through the park) I've never cared for him. Is it within Hueston Hennigan's scope of work to examine Gallegos' role?
Govt plays by different rules. There's virtually no penalty if you fabricate numbers. If a corporation did this there would be lawsuits and maybe criminal charges. But there's 2 sets of laws in the country - one applying to govt and another applying to citizens. Until that changes government works will continue to operate in a dishonest manner.
Great report but I feel your research into SANDAG is incomplete. Have you researched bloated line item budget expenditures? How about $50m p/yr for citizen outreach programs. What is that?
San Diego City, County, and all related agencies, USED to be pretty clean. Now we see corruption at all levels. When and why did we start to slide into a 3rd world environment?
@Grammie It's been there all along. It's just that some of it's finally being covered now.
Oh, it goes deeper than that, and SANDAG is not alone. Whenever a transportation agency cites growth projections to justify projects, it creates the very growth they are trying to handle! This is called "induced demand". After a transportation project is built, traffic congestion quickly returns to what it was and the only thing anybody has to show for are packed roads and empty wallets. And that's before we think about the long term cost of road maintenance!
@Derek Hofmann I have come to appreciate your message discipline.
@Derek Hofmann So shut down all roads and traffic congestion evaporates? Quite a silly argument you have there.
@Derek Hofmann @Michael Robertson Great so we're making progress that roads are necessary. Yes people will move about more when they are roads - no diff than carving a trail in the wilderness. What anti-roaders fail to appreciate is the enormous value to society when people move about. Take 56. Before that the entire Carmel Valley area was mostly uninhabited. Now it's loaded with houses. Does the 56 get crowded at peak times? Yup. And that's people going to work/school/home/recreation.
@Michael Robertson Some would argue that food is even more necessary than cars, but that doesn't mean the government should subsidize hamburgers for everyone.
State gas taxes $4.9B
New car sales tax: $4.4B
Parking fees: $1B
Fines, tickets: $1.5B
Fed gas tax: $2B
this number is grossly under counting. Additional sources not included above: taxes on used car sales- taxes on lease payments- smog fees- tire, battery, oil, coolant, AC fees- sales on other car purchases- taxes on repair parts- toll roads- local taxes.
**There are lots more sources of tax money collected so
Roads are cheap to build and cheap to maintain. Govt says it's hard and expensive because citizens will fall for it cause we're suckers and others are anti-car so they'll believe anything that they perceive is anti-car.
If you offered to outsource road building and maintaining offering to pay just from a couple of the tax sources above private companies would beg for that business
@Michael Robertson If roads are as cheap as you claim, then there would be toll roads everywhere as construction companies cash in on people wishing to avoid traffic. Wherever you find yourself sitting in traffic, that's where they would build another road, because surely some drivers would pay 25 cents per mile to get to or from work more quickly.
@Derek Hofmann @Michael Robertson Roads are cheap to build but the govt holds a firm monopoly because when you have a monopoly you have power and you can use that power to get money. We're watching that play out with Sandag right now.
Monopolies suck - especially when they're the government because you can't sue them. They get to play by diff rules than everyone else. Watch SANDAG unfold. Nobody will get fired, demoted or fined.
@Michael Robertson The South Bay Expressway went bankrupt. This proves that roads may not be so cheap to build after all.