San Diego

SANDAG Projects Still Need More Transportation Funding

Mass transit and major highway projects have been competing priorities for decades in this region

This region's transportation system has a long way to go, and nowhere near the money needed for what’s been planned to improve it.

Especially after an $18 billion tax measure fell short last November.

A majority of voters cast ballots for "Measure A", but not the necessary two-thirds to pass it.

The tax-hike revenue forecasts were overstated by an estimated $4 billion.

An audit and study by a Los Angeles law firm say most voters were in the dark about concerns that were being raised.

"They didn't find forensic evidence that in fact anything was deleted," said Andrew Keatts, whose coverage for NBC 7’s media partner Voice of San Diego brought the issues to light.

"But multiple staffers said that they're almost certain that certain things were deleted during this time for the purpose of keeping them outside of public view," Keatts added during a Friday recording session for Sunday’s edition of "Politically Speaking."

Mass transit and major highway projects have been competing priorities for decades in this region.

The county's 18 cities sort out those issues through SANDAG, the San Diego Association of Governments.

SANDAG's longtime executive director, Gary Gallegos, is retiring early at year's end in the wake of the scandal over quietly relying on faulty forecasting models that date back to 2006.

A lot of projects are still awaiting funding to get under way.

Meantime, state lawmakers will soon be reviewing legislation to reform SANDAG, sponsored by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher.

"It goes to a culture that has been unaccountable, non-transparent," Gonzalez said during the "Politically Speaking" recording session, "and hasn't done the kind of work that we would expect from an agency that is doling out so much money."

NBC 7 asked SANDAG for a representative to join the discussion on "Politically Speaking", but got no timely response to the invitation.

Members of the board of directors we reached cited schedule conflicts.

The program will air on NBC 7 Sunday morning at 9.

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