The San Diego Association of Governments, the agency responsible for building our transportation network, will have to ask voters to approve new funds in the near future to build the projects that allow us to efficiently move about our region.
But they can’t, because they’ve lost the trust of voters. That is the simple truth after Voice of San Diego revealed Monday that SANDAG’s executive leadership – director Gary Gallegos, chief deputy Kim Kawada and chief economist Ray Major – deceived their board of directors and the voting public by advancing Measure A, a ballot initiative to fund regional transportation projects, that they knew over a year ahead of the vote would fall short of its promises.
To restore the credibility of the agency in the eyes of the voting public, as well as the credibility of the board of directors to effectively guide its staff, all three SANDAG managers must be relieved of their positions – either by resignation or termination.
From the earliest rumblings that SANDAG would put a measure on the November 2016 ballot asking voters to fund transportation projects via a sales tax increase, the amount we were told it would raise over 40 years was always $18 billion. And then they started shoehorning attractive-sounding projects into that number. That’s when advocacy groups joined together to form the Quality of Life Coalition. I wasn’t part of that group, but I supported their goal of wanting to ensure that SANDAG would craft a measure with projects representative of a broad swath of regional transportation goals, and most importantly, that were honestly deliverable.