Board of Supervisors to vote on blocking future TransNet amendments

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will consider a resolution Tuesday to block future amendments to the 2004 TransNet extension ordinance that affect the use of local transportation infrastructure funding.

The San Diego Association of Governments announced major changes last week to the agency’s plans for future infrastructure and public transit development throughout the county. Public transit advocates and climate change activists both praised the changes as necessary to decrease the county’s reliance on travel via personal vehicles.

As a result, Supervisor Jim Desmond raised the question of how the changes will affect TransNet, the county’s half-cent sales tax on public transit that funds local transit and infrastructure upgrades. County residents voted to extend the tax for 40 years in 2004.

Desmond, however, suggested the new SANDAG plan subverted the will of the voters, who were promised improvements to certain roadways and thoroughfares as part of the ordinance. Desmond and fellow Supervisor Kristin Gaspar subsequently wrote a letter to Board Chair Dianne Jacob, asking for a vote to curb changes to the TransNet ordinance.

`The TransNet tax was adopted because the voters were persuaded that the road projects to be funded were critical, Desmond wrote Friday in a Twitter post. “Improvements to the 52, 67 and 78 freeways need to be funded, as that’s what voters were promised.”

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and climate change activists have argued the letter is an attempt to cling to a “failed past” and would jeopardize the county’s future climate. Fletcher also noted that making changes to the ordinance is SANDAG’s prerogative.

The ordinance includes a passage, stating “the provisions contained below are viewed through 2048 based upon a 2004 perspective and are not meant to be unduly restrictive on (the Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee) and SANDAG’s roles and responsibilities.”

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on the resolution during its meeting Tuesday at 9 a.m. The meeting will be held in Room 310 at the County Administration Center at 1600 Pacific Highway.

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