DEL MAR, Calif. — San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) hosted its fourth workshop to engage the Del Mar community on a controversial plan to put a train tunnel under the city. 

Even though the project is about five years from starting construction, there has been a lot of interest and input recent similar events throughout the last several months. Monday’s workshop was all about the train’s alignment.

“There has not been any final decision on where this is going and I feel like that’s really the key right now, is that we are looking at different alternatives,” said Ray Major, Deputy CEO for SANDAG.

The plan to get the tracks off the bluffs has gone from having five potential alignments to twelve and counting.

Residents questioned how the choices would be narrowed down. The thought of a tunnel has concerned a lot of residents, but remains the strongest option for SANDAG.

“Tunneling is one of the only ways we can get under what is a completely urbanized area right now that has a lot of elevation changes,” Major said.

“This is kind of an existential crisis for our city right now. We don’t want to lose the quality of life that we have here. A lot of businesses here and a lot of people use our community,” Jonathan P. said.

Most residents are pushing for a route farthest from homes, some for alternatives to a tunnel altogether, but SANDAG has promised to hear all the ideas and eventually narrow down which to conduct environmental studies on.

“Transparency is incredibly important to us at SANDAG, and we want the public to be involved in this from the very beginning,” Major said.

A final design is expected in 2026, with construction to begin in 2028. The next workshop is Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. at the Carmel Valley Middle School library.