Why We’re Saying NO WAY on Measure A

(10/16/16 CAC Blog) Measure A is more than an $18 billion tax increase; it’s a burden on San Diego families and our community– the final cost of which is still unknown. Increased air and water pollution, environmental damage and wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars, as well as harm to our region’s climate goals, are all serious risks posed by this measure.

Unfortunately, some proponents of Measure A are playing fast and loose with the facts.

Here’s our frank and factual take on Why We’re Saying No Way to Measure A:

Measure A Puts More Freeways and Toxic Air Pollution in Low-Income Communities

poison-our-air-sharableMeasure A is a threat to public health and environmental justice and equity. Not only did American Lung Association give San Diego County an ‘F’ for air pollution from mobile sources in 2016, National City and Barrio Logan are literal “toxic hot spots” as designated by the state’s environmental risk screening methodology, CalEnviroScreen. As a result, kids in Barrio Logan and National City are two to three times more likely to visit the emergency room for asthma than kids countywide and seven times more likely than kids in certain higher-income neighborhoods, according to data compiled by Environmental Health Coalition. 

Plus, folks in San Diego’s low-income neighborhoods are 10 times more likely to get hit by a car as a pedestrian than folks in high-income neighborhoods, according to a City report.

To us, doubling the freeway expansion in those communities – as Measure A would do — is immoral and unethical.

Measures A Keeps 89% of Families Dependent on Cars. Freeway Expansion Doesn’t Offer Relief. 

We share the desire of many San Diegans and environmental and transit advocates for seeing more public investment in public transit and help transit catch up with our region’s history of immensely, disproportionately high investment in car-serving freeways. car-traffic_240x150

Unfortunately, Measure A won’t fix our region’s under-investment in transit in the way some folks are hoping. Measure A, as the funding mechanism for the flawed Regional Plan, will have 89% of San Diegans driving in 2050. 89%. After spending billions of dollars, SANDAG’s plan will only move the needle on transit, walking, and biking by 5 percentage points. (SANDAG Regional Plan, Appendix N)

Further, freeway expansion does not lead to less traffic. A UC Berkeley study covering 30 California counties from 1973 to 1990 found that for every 10% increase in roadway capacity, traffic increased 9% with a 4 years’ time. If we build the roads, cars will fill them. 

For us, it was never about the amount they are investing in transit – it was always about the outcomes. SANDAG just never wanted to talk about outcomes.

Measure A Thwarts Funding for Climate-Friendly Neighborhoods

Further, to combat the notion that Measure A might somehow set us up for state or federal funds we’re currently missing out on, check out this article from NextCity showing the real reason why we received so little state Cap & Trade trade dollars for Transportation-Oriented Development (TOD). It’s because our region, and particularly SANDAG, has prioritized sprawl over smart growth. We need a serious shift in our housing and development priorities, regionwide, to qualify for state funds.  

Measure A Fails to Meet our Climate Action Plan Goals

Measure A will hurt, not help, implementation of San Diego’s landmark Climate Action Plan. Climate Action Campaign issued a report with Circulate San Diego in 2015 that shows how our regional plan falls woefully short of the CAP’s goals. The CAP calls for 50% of people in the City’s Transit Priority Areas commuting by transit, walking, and biking by 2035. SANDAG’s plan would get us to only 15%. That’s 15% vs 50%.  In other words, 85% of people in the Transit Priority Areas will be stuck in cars and, as the previous section noted, 95% of folks regionwide will be stuck in cars.

This disparity between the two sets of goals is now playing out in the City’s Community Plan Updates. The City projects they cannot meet the 2035 transportation goals in the CAP because of a lack of investment by SANDAG/Measure A in the city. Now what?

What’s Next?

If Measure A fails, our coalition looks forward to developing a new transportation solution to our climate crisis.  If the measure passes, we will continue to challenge SANDAG on their sprawl-inducing freeway centric plan. We believe our children’s future depends on our relentless fight for justice.

Learn more about Measure A at: http://www.nowayonmeasurea.com/

–The CAC Team, 10/18/16