By Megan Burks
SANDAG Passes Transportation Plan Following Heated Criticism
The San Diego Association of Governments this morning approved its Regional Transportation Plan. The plan lays out how the region will spend $200 billion on transportation projects in the next 40 years, and sets the tone for municipalities throughout California as they figure out how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The hearing drew a large crowd, requiring an overflow room and hired security guards. Many showed up to speak out in opposition of the plan, which prioritizes freeway expansion first and transit later.
The Environmental Health Coalition, Sierra Club, candidate for mayor Bob Filner and many residents have all spoken out against the plan.
Georgette Gómez, District 9 candidate and Environmental Health Coalition program director, commented at the SANDAG hearing. She said she worried the plan could worsen pollution in low-income communities struggling with high asthma rates.
Following a 2 a.m. ouster by police, Occupy San Diego protesters left their civic plaza camp for the SANDAG meeting. Their presence prompted SANDAG to hire private security guards leading up to the meeting.
The protesters said the plan only serves the top 1 percent in the county by favoring freeways and cars. SANDAG has argued only about 5 percent of the region’s daily trips are taken on public transit, and the planning agency doesn’t expect to see a substantial growth in ridership.
About 50 people were on the docket to speak. Opposition ranged from concern over climate change to jobs to future transit demand from Baby Boomers. Many also showed support for the plan, which SANDAG said meets state requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and matches residents’ needs for public transit.
For more on the future of San Diego transportation, visit our partner voiceofsandiego.org for a handy reader’s guide.
Read more Twitter comments on the RTP hearing by searching #SDRTP.
Follow @spkcityheights for more of the things we tweeted this week, including more on school closures and a petition to get a senior center in City Heights.