It’s Time to Put Roads Over Transit

By Richard Bailey : voiceofsandiego – excerpt

More than 50 percent of local transportation dollars are spent to move just 3.5 percent of commuters. This huge disparity is part of the reason why the vast majority of us sit in traffic each day.

Nearly 14 years after voters approved a one-half cent local sales tax measure to collect $14 billion to fund regional transportation projects, commuters are still waiting — in traffic.

In San Diego County, public transit, such as buses and trolleys, receives over 50 percent of all local transportation funding, while highways receive just 13 percent. What makes this disparity even more astounding is the fact that only 3.5 percent of commuters ride public transit…

The Mid-Coast project is paid for by a combination of local and federal tax dollars and will end up costing $2.17 billion. Although trolley lines rarely achieve their estimated ridership, even if the predicted 17,000 daily round trips are reached, it would still be cheaper to issue a $125,000 check to each rider today and continue paying them nearly $1,000 a year for the next 30 years, than to build and operate the Mid-Coast trolley line…

As more vehicles switch to alternative fuel sources, with less greenhouse gas emissions and greater mileage, the negative environmental externalities experienced today will be significantly reduced and, in time, eliminated. Improving technologies will provide new transportation options to disadvantaged communities that will be more efficient for riders and cheaper for taxpayers.

Later this year, SANDAG will be voting on a new plan to build San Diego County’s transportation network over the next 30 years. While autonomous vehicles are still a decade or so away, commuters are stuck in traffic today. Fortunately, the fix for congestion relief now is also an investment in the future of transportation. The next regional transportation plan must prioritize highway investments to provide immediate congestion relief and simultaneously prepare our region for the future.

Richard Bailey is the mayor of Coronado and a SANDAG board member… (more)


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