SAN DIEGO — Local leaders are discussing how the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill will benefit projects in San Diego County.
Although it remains unclear how much money will be allocated to the region, Coleen Clemtson with SANDAG said Wednesday that they are ready to go once funding comes in. Clemtson, director of regional planning, said some of the funds will provide much-needed resources to implement the agency’s 2021 Regional Plan.
“We’re talking about rail infrastructure, light rail, improving our roadways, improving our freeways. A third border crossing is a key opportunity that we have,” she said. “That’s huge for economic development in this region.”
Projects that could benefit from the bill include LOSSAN rail improvements, State Route 11 and the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry, work on the Del Mar bluffs and the Central Mobility Hub.
The federal legislation includes new investments directed toward America’s transportation infrastructure over five years, including money for airports, ports and waterways. Clemtson said SANDAG is looking at what they can do now to improve transportation in San Diego while also looking 20-30 years into the future.
“Another thing we’re also looking at is the infrastructure needed to charge electric vehicles as we move more toward electric vehicles throughout the region,” Clemtson said.
Clemtson also touched on a controversial plan to tax drivers per mile in order to fund the future of San Diego transportation with the shift to electric cars.
“We have to figure out the best way that we can raise local money. One of the things we are talking about is a road usage fee. The thing people have to understand about that, we’re all paying a gas tax. The road usage fee is meant to replace the gas tax,” Clemtson said.
If approved, the tax wouldn’t go into effect until 2030 at the earliest. Clemtson said that gives SANDAG plenty of time to figure out if the road usage fee makes sense for San Diego County.
A meeting on the topic is slated for Dec. 10.