VOSD: County Officials Must Go Back to the Drawing Board on Transportation Funding

November 9, 2016 – Voice of San Diego – Maya Srikrishnan reports – With the failure of Measure A, San Diego County is facing a big question of how to fund public transit and infrastructure. 

The half-cent sales tax increase put on the ballot by the San Diego Regional Association of Governments to help fund transportation, infrastructure and open space projects, failed Tuesday. It fell short of the two-thirds votes it needed with only about 57 percent in favor.

While there were many uncertainties around what the measure would actually accomplish, now county officials will have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what other options are available – many of which may have to wait until 2020.

Opponents of the measure said it didn’t do enough for public transit, had too many highway projects and wouldn’t help the county reach its carbon emission-reduction goals. They say there are options for a way forward.

“There isn’t just one path of trying to find funding,” said Nicole Capretz, executive director of San Diego’s Climate Action Campaign, one of the groups included in the coalition against Measure A. “It’s obviously premature to discuss some options, but there are a host of ideas and possibilities to explore.”

The first option is the SANDAG board and other stakeholders going back to the table to create another countywide measure, which would likely go before voters in 2020. Presidential election years are thought to be the best shot for such measures to pass, since they require a supermajority of voters to go through, which is more likely when turnout is high.

Regardless of how environmentalists and transportation advocates move forward after the failure of Measure A, Capretz said the coalition that was formed to oppose the measure is going to stay together.

Capretz said she hopes the coalition continues to grow broader and to include high-level elected officials, like San Diego’s mayor, to help make things happen.

“You’re seeing this coalition for the progressive movement,” Capretz said. “We haven’t been organized like this before. The coalition is staying together and we are committed to promote the same platform.”

Read the full story here.