SANDAG Chair Nora Vargas misleads San Diego, calls Mileage Tax a “Road User Charge”

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – As we all know, SANDAG leadership passed the $163 billion Regional Transportation Plan, with the promise to remove the extremely unpopular mileage tax from the plan.

They had six months to come up with an alternative funding mechanism, but it has been nearly a year, and they have failed to do so.

There is no other way to fund the massive transportation plan, and SANDAG’s unelected CEO, Hasan Ikhrata, has continued to publicly support taxing people for every mile they drive, in order to make the Regional Transportation Plan a reality.

Democrats on SANDAG’s Board like Chair Nora Vargas, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and Supervisor Nathan Fletcher have all refused to publicly oppose the proposed mileage tax, because they privately support it.

The tax would obviously hurt low-income San Dieagans the most, but Democrats in support don’t seem concerned, as to them, the ends justify the means.

SANDAG’s goal is to change the people’s behavior, forcing them out of their private vehicles and onto public transportation.

Republican Supervisor Jim Desmond recently reached out to Elon Musk for help creating a new transportation plan for the county, to which Musk replied “sure,” and Desmond quickly met with leaders from the Boring Company to begin that process.

That is when the new Chair of SANDAG, Democrat Sup. Nora Vargas, went to Twitter to directly and publicly mislead the public.

Tuesday, Vargas called KUSI’s coverage of the mileage tax controversy, “misinformation.”

But a closer look at Vargas’ choice of words tells a different story. In her attempt to convince the public KUSI is “misinformation,” Vargas asserted that “no gov. agency has the authority to implement a tax that would impact our region without voter approval.” That statement is true.

But in the same tweet, Vargas carefully referred to what we know as the proposed mileage tax, as a “Road User Charge.”

Voters do not have to approve a “charge” that funds transportation systems.

Vargas is intentionally misleading the people of San Diego.

SANDAG’s own document proves Vargas is lying. Under the “Regional Road Usage Charge” section, the document states, “Implementation Actions which is to pursue legislation or another mechanism to administer a regional road usage charge.”

SANDAG Board Member and Coronado Mayor, Richard Bailey, called out Vargas’ misleading tweet by commenting on KUSI’s Instagram post, writing, “Notice it is referred to as a ‘charge’ and not a ‘tax.’ Although nothing official has been decided, while a tax would currently require voter approval, a fee/charge would not. So a ‘charge’ that funds a transportation system would not necessarily require voter approval. Just another minor detail to be sorted out.”

KUSI invited Supervisor Vargas to address her misleading tweet, but we have not heard back.

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