Opponents of SANDAG’s Measure-A claim language is misleading

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — In November, voters in San Diego county will be asked to decide on Measure-A.

It’s a proposal from the San Diego Association of governments or SANDAG that creates a half-cent sales tax increase.

It’s expected to generate more than $18 billion over the next 40 years.

The money would fund highway and transit projects and would legally bind SANDAG to complete them.

The measure needs a two-thirds vote.

SANDAG and most of its board members support the measure, including Council Member Todd Gloria and County Supervisor Ron Roberts.

Most of the opponents are part of the "Quality of Life Coalition," which is made up of: 

  • Climate Action Campaign
  • Sierra Club
  • Bike SD
  • Democrats for Environmental Action
  • League of Conservative voters
  • California Nurses Association
  • Environment Health Coalition

Opponents claim language in the ballot measure makes promises that are not backed up by funding, such as improving water quality.

"There’s nothing in Measure-A that guarantees funds for water quality, for cleaning up polluted runoff, but they claim that it does, said Ricardo Ochoa.

Related Link: What you need to know about Measure A

Attorney Ricardo Ochoa of the Quality of Life Coalition said the measure claims there will be fare reductions for students, seniors and the disabled.

" … there’s nothing in the measure that guarantees that. The only thing in the measure is the ability for local cities, if they want too, to use some of their money for that but there’s no requirement," Ochoa said.

The opponents want the court to strike this language as deceptive.

"If we convince the court that they are in fact misleading the court has the power to either strike those portions of the arguments or rewrite them," Ochoa said.

Beyond the language, opponents claim SANDAG is perpetuating a failed transportation model.

"This measure unfortunately perpetuates that practice of freeway widening, it’s gonna perpetuate greenhouse gases and climate change and put pollution in disadvantaged communities," Ochoa added.

But Measure-A said the largest share of funding, 42 percent, will go toward public transit, such as the purple line from the South Bay to Kearny Mesa. Only 14 percent goes to freeway widening.

Ochoa said SANDAG is engaging in creative accounting.

"They’re excluding from percentages the money that’s going into local infrastructure, projects which for example they have indicated to us most cities are gonna use on roads," he said.

The city of San Diego has an aggressive climate action plan that’s focused on reducing greenhouse gases. Ochoa claims Measure-A jeopardizes the goals of that plan.

"We’re not going to be able to meet the goals of city’s action plan with the passage of this measure because its investing far too much on polluting transportation methods," he said. "If we are going to impose a regressive sales tax on our communities we really need to make sure that this tax is meeting the needs of our communities."

In 2004, voters approved a half cent transit tax over 20 years. SANDAG said the sales tax is needed because our population will increase by 30 percent by 2050, creating an $18 billion funding gap for needed projects.

Labor is also opposed to this because there’s no provision for a project labor agreement, requiring good wages and benefits, nor is there a guarantee of local hires.

Categories: Local San Diego News