Leaders of the San Diego Association of Governments say they figured out how the agency can finish all the transportation projects it promised voters as part of a 2004 tax increase.
They just need California legislators to raise the gas tax two more times. The gas tax hike lawmakers passed this summer will also need to survive a repeal attempt.
Staffers from SANDAG last month updated their long-term plan for spending tax revenue from TransNet, the voter-approved countywide half-cent sales tax. The agency combines those tax dollars with money from state and federal sources to build major projects like freeway expansions and new trolley lines.
Investigations by Voice of San Diego and a firm the agency hired forced SANDAG to acknowledge that local sales taxes have brought in far less money than staff had thought would come. Project costs also now far exceed initial expectations. Taken together, the agency needs to bring in nearly twice as much money from outside the county to fill the gap as it projected just two years ago.
San Diego will now need to win $18.1 billion in grants from state and federal sources – up from SANDAG’s projection of just $10.4 billion in 2015 – for all the projects promised on the 2004 ballot to actually get built.
SANDAG’s update to its long-term plan sketches out what would need to happen for that to be possible.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Good, Chris, generally I agree with some comments on implementing, and an omission I made.
The omission: we can start right now building L/U, etc** toward the Public Transportation using typical cars and drives. They meet the fundamental principle of on-call personal same vehicle travel directly to actual destination. Self-driving cars will fit in as they mature, and may well become the major carrier.
We are simply retaining the car-road system the public chose many years ago. Mass transit fits in where very high capacity is needed for short periods. Thus some factors to consider;:
1), Good point that though L/U,etc** public transportation will cost to get started, it will contribute funds too; e.g. hi gh value land because less parking near work, shopping centers.
2), There will probably be more miles driven; What can the car do after a work drop off that earns? Thus your correct citing of additional road capacity. Despite electronic car linking, 3 feet separation?
3), In the context of total regional passenger-miles and GHG limits very high emphasis will be needed on vehicle efficiency..
Challenging, but what the public wants and will use; es[ecially non-drivers.
** We need a name.
Feel SANDAG concern about 2004 Promises is about having something to do. The world has moved on from 2004 promises. It is time to get ready for automated electric cars driving in synchrony three feet apart on current roads (much higher capacity). It will happen before another 13 years have passed (2017 – 2004).
Perhaps SANDAG can plan for that. i.e. less parking needed if automated common carrier cars pick you up and drop you off like Uber or Lyft. Even if you own your own car that drops you off in front of your place of work and continues on to store itself in a parking structure (until a cell phone call to pick you up). A lot will be different about the construction of facilities (consider San Diego International Airport without parking lots).
Such a scheme would create more efficient travel - without $18 billion in new taxes.
Generally , if funds are needed, gas tax, and uniform toll on all lanes are acceptable.
-They provide incentive to reduce energy use. Although TAL would need toll rates matching vehicle fuel efficiency.
-Recognizing rapid increase in electric vehicles, tolls should use energy units; BTU, or KWH. Credit for clean electric power is needed, including for generating efficiency when fossil fuel is the source.
Regarding funding the transportation part of the San Diego Regional Plan, the current negative philosophy to impede, traffic, discourage auto use; insufficient parking, etc, has to be replaced by a forward looking positive approach.
30 years of expensive trying to move a meaningful share of regional travel back to mass transit has failed.
The Public is saying it wants on- demand personal same vehicle direct travel to actual destinations. Lyft, Uber, etc., can evolve to do that; and without community design disruption, the expense of industry relocation to walk/bike distances. "Doorstep to doorstep" capability overcomes mass transit's access deficiency.
Thus the $40 billion mass transit expense can be eliminated, along with its operating costs. Mass transit would augment travel in very active surge areas. L/U, etc, can handle off peak lower volumes and eliminate wasteful heavy vehicles.
This overall approach needs to be examined before search for funds
Meanwhile road cost savings should be considered. Candidates: Convert existing managed lanes, and planned ones to smooth flow in all lanes. Hot lane equipped freeways have less throughput when measured at the critical peak demand.
Open shoulder lanes to all traffic at less than freeway 35 mph.
If SANDAG would quit building freeways and HOV to the far suburbs.We would not have urban sprawl. How about taking care of the freeway that back up in the urban core. Such as I-5 thru National City that goes from 6 lanes to four lanes and back to five lanes. Eastbound 8 thru hotel circle that is four lanes eastbound but five lanes westbound. Take care of the core so people will move back to the center of San Diego.
Gas taxes are a VERY clumsy way to pay for roads because they don't have the ability to eliminate rush hour traffic congestion without overcharging drivers during quiet periods. It's always the same price no matter when you travel, and all that queuing hurts the economy, if we learned anything from the fall of communism.
Whenever a line forms, there are people willing to pay a little to bypass the line, in the same way that an eBay auction with more bidders than items for sale is proof that people are willing to bid the price up. So why not give us the same choice? If I'm late for work or I need to rush a sick child to the hospital, why not let me pay a dollar for a congestion-free route? Then that's an extra dollar, voluntarily paid, to help fix the roads and pay for transportation projects.
Priced correctly and periodically adjusted, variable congestion tolls permanently (yes, permanently) eliminate traffic congestion, and that saves taxpayers a LOT of money and time stuck in traffic, without overcharging anyone.
SANDAG, won't you please take my money in return for congestion relief? And please end the TransNet sales tax. Sales taxes hurt the poor and discourage commerce.
Sandag has proven themselves incompetent. I really don't care about their high minded attempts to lure people away from cars. Our city was designed for auto travel and that's how I travel. I consider the rest of transportation methods a waste. To get away from their punitive gas price increases, I've gone completely electric. Best of luck....
@John Porter Well on the positive side this is SANDAG's board finally doing what a board of directors should do: direct. And provide oversight.