San Diego County CA— The SANDAG Board of Directors voted unanimously Friday to adopt the final version of San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan, a sweeping blueprint for the future that will invest $204 billion into transportation infrastructure projects over the next 35 years.
San Diego Forward lays out a strategic vision to address the region’s current and future transportation needs, including specific plans to help realize that vision by investing in transit projects, bikeways, pedestrian improvements, and a Managed Lanes network (lanes the accommodate carpools and transit, and sometimes toll-paying solo drivers) between now and 2050.
The Plan seeks to strike a balance, helping to guide future growth in a way that preserves mobility in the region and supports jobs and our economy, while creating healthy communities, preserving half the region as open space, and exceeding the greenhouse gas reduction targets set for our region by the California Air Resources Board.
“This Plan relies on adding layers of transportation choice,” said SANDAG Chair and Santee Councilmember Jack Dale. “By growing within our existing communities – then connecting those communities with not just freeways, but with carpool lanes, transit services, bikeways, and safe walking routes – we can achieve all of our goals.”
“Community members have repeatedly implored SANDAG to prioritize alternate transportation options that don’t create more air pollution or contribute to the effects of climate change,” says Monique López, policy advocate at the Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) in a statement released after the approval. “This plan had a great opportunity to lead San Diego toward a healthier future and instead, it’s taken the entire region backwards.”
SANDAG says by 2050, the region’s population is expected to grow by a million people, and will add half a million jobs, and 300,000 more homes. In anticipation, city and county land use plans have changed to focus most forecasted growth in already existing communities. The Regional Plan responds to those new land use patterns, overlaying more transportation choices to connect communities with different modes of travel.
The Plan looks far into the future, projecting what funds will be available over a 35-year period, and what can be done with those funds to improve the region’s transportation system. The Plan is updated every four years.
Overall, the Plan approved today:
- Commits more than 50 percent of its $204 billion investment to transit, including five new Trolley lines, 32 new Rapid lines, and significant increases in transit frequencies.
- Dedicates 15 percent of its resources to add 160 miles of Managed Lanes to our existing freeways for the specific purpose of allowing transit, carpools, and vanpools to be more efficient and bypass traffic.
- Directs more than $588 million to building 275 miles of bikeways, making active transportation a realistic alternative to car travel for more people.
- Invests a total of $4.9 billion in active transportation improvements throughout the region, including biking and walking improvements.
- Ensures that in the next five years 75 percent of all transportation funds will be invested in transit and active transportation, including the Mid-Coast Trolley extension, the Mid-City Centerline Rapid Stations project, the South Bay Rapid project, and the continued double-tracking of our coastal rail corridor.
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is the San Diego region’s primary public planning, transportation, and research agency, providing the public forum for regional policy decisions about growth, transportation planning and construction, environmental management, housing, open space, energy, public safety, and binational topics. SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government.
About the Environmental Health Coalition
Founded in 1980, Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) builds grassroots campaigns to confront the unjust consequences of toxic pollution, discriminatory land use and unsustainable energy policies. Visit us online at http://www.environmentalhealth.org.