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SANDAG discusses Regional Plan that includes proposed road usage tax

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Posted at 1:16 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 16:16:05-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The San Diego Association of Governments met Friday to discuss the future of public transportation across the county, and the group's vision includes a proposed mileage tax on local drivers.

Under its proposed $160 billion Regional Plan, SANDAG is hoping to eventually make public transit across the San Diego County free for all and improve the county’s entire transportation system over the course of the next 30 years.

Funding for the plan, according to SANDAG, would potentially come from the following sources:

  • $31 billion in federal funding
  • $33 billion from the state of California
  • $31 billion in local funding
  • $28 billion from proposed half-cent sales tax after 2022 election and proposed half-cent sales tax after 2028 election
  • $19 billion from proposed 4-cent-per-mile road usage tax
  • $19 billion from the Managed Lanes program
  • $11 billion from TransNet projects

Click here to view the complete Draft 2021 Regional Plan

SANDAG, San Diego County's regional transportation planning agency, received more than 1,400 comments on the Draft 2021 Regional Plan. Some were positive but many were critical of the agency's proposed tax increases.

San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond said the proposal was intended to "force everyone on to trolleys and buses" by pricing people out of their cars.

"This proposal should never see the light of day," Desmond said. "San Diegans already pay some of the highest prices to drive in the country. From the current gas taxes to a vehicle registration tax, San Diegans feel the effects, in their wallets, every day.

"Adding another tax, to fund public transportation, is a slap in the face," he said. "I will not support any new taxes or fees upon San Diegans until the promised projects are completed."

SANDAG has estimated the plan could raise more than $34 billion through 2050, but the agency's chief economist, Ray Major, said the final figures would change once the scope was narrowed to implementation of the proposal in 2030.

If fully approved, the regional plan would be rolled out in phases until completion by 2050.

SANDAG’s board is expected to vote on the plan in December, and if it passes, the plan will go on a ballot.

City News Service contributed to this report