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Dems Disagree on SANDAG’s Transit Plan

Rep. Scott Peters, Assemblyman Todd Gloria and City Councilman Chris Cate on stage at Politifest
From left: Rep. Scott Peters, Assemblyman Todd Gloria and City Councilman Chris Cate appear on VOSD’s live podcast taping at Politifest. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano

This post initially appeared in the June 1 Politics Report [1]. Get the Politics Report delivered to your inbox [2].

The right met Hasan Ikhrata’s plan to remake transit in San Diego with stiff opposition.

Now, it’s clear the left isn’t unified behind his proposal, either.

The Union-Tribune’s Joshua Emerson-Smith reported Monday the Metropolitan Transit System was moving forward with a 2020 tax measure that would beef up the existing bus and trolley network, rather than get to work building [3] the 400-some miles of new, fast rail service Ikhrata imagines.

MTS Chairwoman Georgette Gómez, a SANDAG board member who enthusiastically embraced the idea, declined to comment for the story. That followed weeks of relative silence from the plan’s ostensible supporters, even while conservative leaders from North County and East County organized against it.

But perhaps most significantly, Assemblyman Todd Gloria, a leading mayoral candidate who has long positioned himself as a transit leader in San Diego, also declined to embrace Ikhrata’s proposal, saying it would come down to the details and that he wasn’t sure Ikhrata’s rail focus was necessary.

La Mesa Councilman Colin Parent, who runs the transit advocacy group Circulate San Diego, praised Gloria’s skepticism [4], saying he wanted to make sure SANDAG’s plan improves transit in the places that already have it and are most likely to use it, and not just build out a network to farther flung places that don’t have it yet.

Rep. Scott Peters jumped in to praise Ikhrata’s concept, which he said for the first time would chart out a comprehensive long-term goal, instead of just settling for projects based on how much money was available at any given time.

Climate Action Campaign leader Nicole Capretz, plus labor leaders Carol Kim, Tom Lemmon and Gretchen Newsom all chimed in to agree with Peters.