San Diego County CA— SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos, who has led the agency since 2001, announced on Tuesday that he will retire by the end of the calendar year.
“Gary Gallegos will leave us as a giant in regional planning and transportation,” said SANDAG Chair and County Supervisor Ron Roberts. “His drive and effectiveness as a transportation leader are nationally renowned, particularly when it comes to bringing investment into our community and getting creative projects started and completed. While he will be sorely missed, I must honor his decision.”
Gallegos, 57, has overseen the agency for 16 years.
“While retirement has been on my mind for some time, my goal during the last few months has been to help SANDAG and our incredibly talented team through the process of an independent examination of our forecasting efforts, as well as keep the organization moving forward on major initiatives such as the construction of the Mid-Coast Trolley extension and South Bay Rapid, along with planning for the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry.
“Those goals have been achieved,” Gallegos continued. “The independent examination found that SANDAG did not intentionally mislead the public or the Board regarding its forecast. The Board has implemented a plan to address issues related to the forecast. And the Board will consider additional recommendations from the independent examination.
“Moving forward, with the Board’s support my intention is to work hard at keeping this organization focused on all of our very important initiatives and give the Board of Directors time to consider next steps,” Gallegos said.
In 2004, Gallegos led the effort to extend TransNet, a regional half-cent sales tax for transportation; 67 percent of county voters approved the extension. To date, the TransNet program has invested approximately $3 billion – and attracted another $10 billion in state and federal matching funds – to build approximately 20 major highway and Managed Lane projects and almost 30 transit projects throughout the region. The TransNet program also has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to local roads and streets, environmental protection, and smart growth programs.
Before joining SANDAG, Gallegos held the position of district director for Caltrans District 11, covering San Diego and Imperial counties. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of New Mexico and is a registered civil engineer.