Oceanside Chamber CEO, Scott Ashton was amongst a group of business leader that attended the SANDAG Board meeting last Friday to urge the Board to keep promises made to voters in the passage of the 2004 TransNet Extension.
In November 2004, 67 percent of San Diego’s voters approved a 40-year extension of TransNet, a half-cent sales tax to generate funds for highway, road, and public transit projects. The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), threatens to undermine the will of the voters by removing the unfunded highway projects promised in 2004.
Only 6 percent of the money generated from TransNet has been appropriated to construct highway projects for the more than 96 percent of population that use them. A disproportionate 66 percent of the money has been used to construct public transit projects, which serve only about 3.5 percent of the population.
In his testimony to the SANDAG Board, Ashton noted, “Tourism is one of the largest economic drivers in our region. As 63% of visitors arrive by car, highway improvements are critical to its future”. He added that “any modifications would amount to a bait and switch with the voters”.
The public transit projects which were identified with the TransNet Extension Ordinance have been prioritized, while 14 unfunded highway projects, which were promised to the voters, haven’t been started.
A compromised was reached at the meeting prioritizing highway improvements for several state routes including Highway 78. Read San Diego Union-Tribune article for details.
The Chamber will continue to closely monitor the issue to ensure the Oceanside business community is represented.