SANDAG’s Hasan Ikhrata defends mileage tax, says those opposed hate the environment

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – In a recent article, SANDAG’s Executive Director, Hasan Ikhrata, explained why he is standing by the extremely unpopular plan to charge drivers for every mile they drive.

It is important to know that Ikhrata was not elected to his position.

The SANDAG Board has abandoned support of the plan, as San Diego residents are strongly against it, and are even questioning why Democrats on the Board even supported it in the first place. The Board also is pushing for Ikhrata to leave his position as Executive Director, as he doesn’t represent the interests of San Diegans.

The mileage tax would add up to be about $800 to $1000 per car, per year.

Tuesday, SANDAG’s Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata joined KUSI’s Lauren Phinney on Good Morning San Diego to again defend his support of the mileage tax. Ikhrata explained that if you oppose the mileage tax, then you hate the environment.

The plan was adopted last December by a majority vote of the Board of the Directors, only for the Board to withdraw the mileage tax aspect because of extreme unpopularity. At the time, the Board said they would find a new funding mechanism in six months, but they never did. Since they never did, Ikhrata says the mileage tax must be concluded.

He then said, “make no mistake about it, if anybody thinks that using green house gas emissions for real is easy, it’s not going to be. If it’s not a road user charge, then what? Is it tolling every lane on the freeways? I think this discussion and this public policy debate need to go on.”

Ikhrata’s comments make it clear, the goal of SANDAG’s $163 billion Regional Transportation Plan is to force San Diegans out of their personal cars, and into public transportation vehicles in the name of climate change. And if you don’t like it, then Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata says you must hate the environment.

RELATED STORY: Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey: SANDAG Chair Hasan Ikhrata is out-of-touch with San Diego

Back in April, a scathing audit of SANDAG found extreme abuse of taxpayer dollars, as leader of the government agency were found to be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lavish filet mignon dinners, even on their days off. One of the biggest abusers, was Executive Director Ikhrata himself, who would commonly use the taxpayer funded credit card on his days off.

Ikhrata gets paid $580,000 a year of taxpayer money, with ten weeks of paid vacation per year. He faced no consequences for the abuse of taxpayer dollars.

Some Board members have said he should step down, but there has been no action to legally remove him from his position.

RELATED STORY: SANDAG leaders caught using taxpayer money to fund filet mignon dinners

Wednesday, the KUSI News Good Morning San Diego team discussed Ikhrata’s push for the mileage tax.

Categories: California News, Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News, Politics