SANDAG Director Responds to Critics of ‘5 Big Moves’ Plan

SANDAG's Executive Director responded Tuesday to critics who claim the agency is not fulfilling promises by shifting priorities to new transportation projects. 

“You cannot build your way out,” Hasan Ikhrata said when discussing the recent criticism lobbied at the San Diego Association of Governments.

"Some people think we should only expand highways. We cannot do that and still meet the state and federal mandates," Ikhrata said. "People who advocate just for expanding highway pretty much are saying, 'Let’s not meet the mandates. Let’s ignore them.'"

After SANDAG unveiled what it is calling "5 Big Moves", several local officials including the San Diego County Board of Supervisors spoke out publicly, suggesting the agency continue to back the current plan for transportation in the region.

In its newest proposal, SANDAG aims to complete corridors, complete a network of high-speed transit, provide mobility hubs, provide on-demand and shared electric vehicles and create an integrated platform that will make all of the strategies work together.

The County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of drafting a letter to SANDAG opposing any future amendments to the 2014 TransNet extension ordinance that would affect the use of local transportation infrastructure funding.

Some members of the SANDAG board, including some in the East and North Counties, claim the agency is shifting priorities already agreed upon. Ikhrata said that's not so.

The half-cent sales tax measure passed by voters also provides SANDAG with the ability to look at projects and adjust them if necessary, he said.

"Things change. 2004 is different than 2048,” he said.

The board has not made a decision yet, he added, they are discussing proposed projects. 

"The bottom line is we are putting forward a vision that’s good for all commuters in San Diego," he said.

The SANDAG board is made up of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government. They’re hoping to have a finalized plan by November.

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