California lawmakers try to keep San Diego agency focused on roads

October 17, 2019

Keith Goble

|

One California state legislator would like to make it more difficult for the San Diego Association of Governments to divert taxpayer funds away from roads.

The agency made up of 19 local governments uses proceeds from the county sales tax to fund transportation projects.

In 2004, voters approved the extension of a half-cent sales tax to benefit highway and transit projects across the county. The tax is scheduled to be collected for 40 years.

Despite the steady tax revenue, the San Diego agency says it does not provide enough money for all listed transportation projects.

In June, the agency announced plans to cancel some highway work and instead boost funding for transit. Specifically, 14 freeway and highway projects were put on the chopping block in exchange for creating bike lanes.

The agency also has proposed a sales tax increase to benefit transit and a “congestion tax” on drivers.

Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron of Escondido has inserted language into a bill to address concerns about transparency from the group that serves as the region’s transportation planning agency.

AB1398 would require the agency to hold four public hearings and to get two-thirds support from voters before changes in spending plans can move forward.

“Our community deserves confidence that their tax money is being used appropriately and that SANDAG is keeping its promises to voters,” Waldron said in prepared remarks. “No agency should be able to operate in the dark.”

The bill can be considered when the Legislature returns to Sacramento in January.

Other California news

Also in Land Line Media coverage recently, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order to use $5 billion of revenue raised via a recent fuel tax increase for a program to reduce greenhouse gases and emissions.

Also, in September, Newsom signed into law a recent bill aimed at preventing businesses from misclassifying workers in the state.

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.