Questions have been raised by Voice of San Diego about the San Diego Association of Governments’ ability to continue improving our region’s transportation system, as well as the agency’s conduct in sharing information with the public about its efforts.
Before answering those specific questions, a little background is important. SANDAG – which is overseen by a board of elected officials from all of the region’s 18 cities and the county – administers our region’s voter-approved TransNet half-cent sales tax for transportation.
Using this local source of revenue since 1988, SANDAG and its partner agencies have successfully attracted state and federal matching funds to complete more than 650 projects. And in the first eight years of the 40-year TransNet Extension program, the agency has finished or started construction on 40 percent of the projects promised to voters.
Nevertheless, as we continue to grow, there are increasing needs in the region. Recognizing this, the SANDAG board placed Measure A on the November ballot seeking an additional half-cent sales tax to fund transit, open space, highway, bike/pedestrian and local infrastructure improvements. Fifty-eight percent of voters supported the measure, but it fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass.
Starting a few weeks before the election, Voice raised a series of questions related to the TransNet program and about how much revenue Measure A would likely generate. Here, fundamentally, are the three primary questions and my responses to them:
Has SANDAG overestimated the revenue it is likely to receive from the existing TransNet program?
Maybe, but we won’t know for sure until 2048.
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The performance side of the coin.
In the public interest, can SANDAG justify the funds for fixed and mobile projects in its $203 billion Plan? In the light of;
A different Federal Administration,
Feasible technology demonstrations that the personal on demand transportation overwhelmingly preferred, with increasingly cleaner vehicles scan be provided to all.
Staff analyses, and history of performance, do not support major allocations to more mass transit.
1), At least 90% of fuel saved toward emissions reduction come from on-road vehicles. But nearly 50% , about $40 billion, of capital is allocated to new or enhanced mass transit.
2), Mass transit adds only about 10% projected travel need.
3), Non conventional routings in communities, plus closer stations, intended to increase access fir more riders, produces only a 10% trip to peak work time reduction.
4), On call autos, "Uber", etc, with "doorstep" pick up, can eliminate this expensive overlay, and provide no transfer same vehicle travel to chosen destinations.
5), With over 30 years remaining, will a shift from more underutilized conventional mass transit to new feasible technologies and mode role allocations with public preference be implemented?
1), instead of the now expensive SR-78 expansion discussed, "cheapy", less than $700 million "Sprinter" Diesel light rail nearby was built for SR-78 relief. Instead of bi-directional peak more than 4,000 riders per hour, Sprinter carries about 7,000 per day, compared to 11,500 pridicted. Principally previous bus riders.
Need for bridge replacement was learned when now completed I-15 expansion was amended.
2), During Sales tax supported, including State and Federal assistance, road use has increased nearly 40 million passenger-miles daily. Mass transit has increased 1 million.
Comments about performance would be useful in context of elaborate funding explanations.
@Walt Brewer "1), At least 90% of fuel saved toward emissions reduction come from on-road vehicles."
This is why we need to make traffic flow more smoothly without building new roads. (Smooth flowing traffic reduces aggregate fuel consumption and emissions, but more roads increases both.)
Yes. We are paying a terrible environmental price for the mid-1970s decision to count on mass transit for travel growth, and suppress road expansion.
It didn't happen despite all the mass transit built and get out of cars litany. On road vehicles absorbed 95% of growth, despite increasing congestion.
Annual fuel waste increased by a FACTOR of about 4, with population increased 50%
Spilled milk crying I know.
With Uber,etd Central Public Transportation, load on roads may be higher, I admit.
Stop wasteful managed lanes.
Very efficient small cars for Uber, etc, that use less road space.
In very high demand, use electric narrow guideways, and existing ROW, and dual mode cars.
Elevate in critical segments.
@Walt Brewer "Stop wasteful managed lanes."
Except that managed lanes permanently eliminate traffic congestion and wasted capacity, and by making freeway traffic flow smoothly 24/7, they also reduce traffic pressure on connecting streets
No, what's wasteful are unmanaged "dumb" lanes which have no way to manage traffic flow, and the infrastructure to separate them from the smart lanes. If all freeway lanes were managed lanes, we would save massive, massive amounts of tax money on that separating infrastructure and on building extra lanes that underperform most of the day just so they don't get so backed up during rush hour.
But if for some reason you actually like paying more taxes than necessary and if you like sitting in gridlock, then go ahead and keep asking for the dumb lanes!
Agree we can do much better creating smooth flow in ALL lanes.
But bus interests want exclusive lanes, with dedicated access. I-15 managed lanes expansion started as a busway that was going to carry, on buses, ~2,400 pople..hr.
Sorry; sounds like you have been reading press releases from now well institutionized managed lane activists. The boast about free fast flow in the underused HOT lanes, and ignore the stop go they help to create in the GH lanes.
Try to get SIMULTANEOUS lane flow data from other than Caltrans installations.
Caltrans has very good data on most of the freeway syste.m.
About 2 years ago I reviewed perhaps a cople dozen HOT lane equipped segments; the oft promoter SR-91 for example at max demand where best capacity is needed.
I determined TOTAL FREEWAY FLOW< BOTH VEHICLES AND PEOPLE.
I did not find a case where those measurements where more than the same number of lanes in smooth flow at 2,000 vehicles/hr/lane. (Caltrans believes that can be higher than 2,000.)
Managed lanes are deficient for what counts.
Use what you like.
The issue is achieve best total freeway flow at max demand.
Note in MLs considerable flow in HOT lanes is 70 mph or so. According to your chart not exactly efficient for flow.
Isn't steady ~45 mph more satisfactory to even cowboy drivers than stop and go.
You are captured by detail that has little relevance to the main issue being discussed.
Interesting that the inflated estimate for TransNet income was only corrected after the Nov. elections. Also interesting to hear SANDAG now says that our transportation projects are dependent on State and Federal funds when just before the the elections the Board Members campaigning for Measure A were making it sound like that we would not be able to complete any projects without it. And then there is the issue of everyone in California reducing the overall number of miles driven from current levels even at a very optimistic rate of converting to non polluting cars by 3% a year. (Per Caltrans strategic plan) When will SANDAG work on a transit first plan?
@Jack Shu $$$$ do not necessarily relate to performance.
TransNet has always been transit first in dollars.
At the start with no particular performance rationale, but politically to broaden the voter base, funds were decreed to be equal, transit, highways, local streets related. Strictly held over the years, although the transit share has gone higher recently.
I have commented frequently how poorly that relates to performance. e.g., less than 2% transit travel share, including 4% at peaks. State and Federal funds added to both.
We have to reallocate to modes the Public WNTS to use.. After 30 years trying, that's not transit in its current role and allocation.
Blue Line success started the TransNet transit roll. But its demographics are very different from typical San Diego. Though trolley route miles have more than tripled, travel on the extension is only about 25% higher than the original Blue Line.
We need new approaches.
SANDAG's growth forecasts depend on how quickly SANDAG accommodates growth, because people won't move here if there's too much traffic. So the more money SANDAG acquires from taxpayers, the more they will need from us. Is it wise to give them more money?
There are two pieces of the freeway puzzle that need to be fixed.
One, is the need for a freeway connector from the southbound 125 to the 905. Granted the northbound connector was just completed.
Two, while the major freeway component pieces of the 905 are now in place, big truck traffic has increased exponentially. Two competing elements are normal vehicular traffic able to flow at normal freeway speeds and tractor-trailer traffic that moves at far lower velocities. The mix is potentially lethal. Tractor-trailer traffic often, because of speed regulations, move in groups making the negotiation between each truck dicey. New lanes of traffic need to be constructed to allow for this increase of traffic between "the Border" and the rest of the highway systems connected to the "the Border.