by Marva Bledsoe, Business and Community Political Action Committee
At a recent meeting of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Issues Committee, Ray Major, an Economic Analyst for the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) provided a status report from the San Diego Forward Regional Plan, including a review of TransNet projects.
What do we want our region to look like in 2050? Where will we live? How will we get around? How can we grow in a way that fuels our economy and preserves our environment, takes everyone’s needs into account, and still maintains our quality of life? San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan tackles these questions and provides a blueprint for a sustainable future for the San Diego region. TransNet is the voter-approved half-cent sales tax administered by SANDAG. To date, $3.3 billion in TransNet funds have been leveraged with more than $10 billion from federal, state, and local funding sources to deliver more than 650 projects throughout the San Diego region.
Every time you shop, dine, or play in San Diego County, your tax dollars contribute to keeping San Diego moving. Because of TransNet funding, numerous highway, bus and rail projects, as well as bike and pedestrian projects, local street repairs, habitat conservation efforts, and grant programs have been completed or are underway. Some North County TransNet projects over the past twenty-two years include: Bikeways: Escondido and San Marcos Inland Rail Trail; Oceanside Coastal Rail Trail; and, Lake Hodges Bikeway and Pedestrian Bridge. Environment: Batiquitos Lagoon Ayoub; Rancho Lilac; and Sage Hill. Grants: Escondido Creek Bike Path and Restriping; San Marcos Barham Drive Urban Trail Improvement; Vista Downtown Specific Plan Update; and, Oceanside Mission Avenue Improvements. Highways: Interstate-15 Express Lane from SR-163 to SR-78; Interstate-5 HOV Extension to Manchester; Interstate-5 HOV Lomas Santa Fe Interchange; and, the western segment of SR-76. Transit: Oceanside to Escondido Sprinter; 15 Escondido to Downtown San Diego Rapid buses; and, the Coaster.
But the San Diego Forward plan outlines that there is much more to be done. SANDAG is currently reviewing proposals for an additional half-cent sales tax to be placed on the November 2016 ballot for voter approval. There are several program alternatives under consideration each approaching priorities and funding from a different perspective. Your Oceanside Chamber of Commerce has provided input to SANDAG as to our local project priorities. Once a final ballot measure has been drafted, we will present information on that for consideration.
The Oceanside Chamber of Commerce Emerging Issues Committee meets the first Thursday of each month at 8:00 am at the Chamber office. Please join us!