SDUT: County transportation measure fails to gain two-thirds threshold

November 9, 2016 – San Diego Union Tribune – Joshua Emerson Smith reports – Measure A, the half-cent sales tax to fund public transit and freeway projects in the county, fell short of the needed two-thirds vote.

The measure created odd bedfellows, uniting environmental groups and some Republicans against the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and several Democratic elected officials.

Measure A would have pushed the region’s base sales tax rate to 8.5 percent. About 41 percent — or $7.5 billion — would have gone to public transit, while $2.6 billion — or 14 percent — would have paid for highway projects such as connectors and carpool lanes.

The local Republican and Democratic parties along with a coalition of about two dozen environmental groups, labor unions and transit advocates opposed Measure A, albeit on divergent grounds.

Environmentalists and other advocates of mass transit said both SANDAG’s long-range transportation plan and the ballot measure should do more to boost bus, trolley, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

From its inception, the measure was a nonstarter with certain green groups that have drawn a hard line against any new expansion of the region’s freeways, based on their concerns about greenhouse-gas emissions from cars and trucks. These organizations included the Sierra Club and the San Diego-based Climate Action Campaign.

Under pressure from environmental groups, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced he too would oppose the tax hike in April. The mayor has built a reputation as a green Republican, backing the city’s nationally recognized Climate Action Plan with calls for cutting emission in half by 2035 in the region’s largest metropolitan area.

Read the full story here.