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San Diego County, city leaders push back against proposed mileage tax

Posted at 9:04 AM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 15:03:21-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Some San Diego County and city leaders were in Rancho Bernardo Thursday to voice their concerns over SANDAG’s latest transportation plan, which includes a proposed mileage tax.

SANDAG’s proposed 30-year, $160 billion regional transportation plan includes an initiative to eventually provide free public transit for all San Diegans, major improvements to infrastructure across the county, and a possible high-speed rail system.

However, the initial proposal contained the following proposed taxes that would help fund the project:

  • a per-mile road usage tax
  • two half-cent regional sales taxes for 2022 and 2028

SANDAG’s latest plan was to change the current gas tax that San Diego residents already pay. It would change from per gallon to per mile under the vehicle mileage tax.

Under the plan, starting in 2030, it will cost 3.3 cents per mile. In addition to the regional wide sales tax which if added together will mean four cents per mile through 2050.

During a rally ahead of SANDAG’s Friday meeting on the plan, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells said, “If you look at buses and trains and trolleys, they are empty ... if you want to be safe and have good social distancing from COVID, sit on a bus or trolley because you'll be alone."

Wells added that there is “a misguided belief that the world will be safe if people are forced out of their cars.”

Vista City Councilmember John Franklin added, “If you have two drivers driving an average of 12,000 miles each, this could cost more than $1,000 per family."

SANDAG officials have said the plan and proposed taxes are about thinking towards the future.

SANDAG CEO Hassan Ikhrata said, “The future is not 50 years from now; it's now, and we are telling San Diegans we want to invest in the future for our kids and grandchildren, we want to breathe better air, reduce green gas house emissions, and be better citizens."

“This is not about penalizing people or taxing people, but this is about reimagining the future of transportation systems in San Diego,” the CEO added.