SAN DIEGO — The SANDAG Board of Directors voted 15-4 Friday to approve a motion to remove a controversial “mileage tax” from any consideration for the 2025 Regional Plan.
San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones led a protest before the board meeting. She was joined by other board members calling for the removal of the regional road user charge — also known as the “mileage tax” — from the plan.
In December 2021, a regional plan was approved without the 4-cents-per-mile tax. The tax proposal was met with tremendous blowback from people across the county.
Before Friday’s vote, public comment was overwhelmingly against the tax.
“No to the road user charge, no matter what you call it, no matter what you name it, no matter how you try to fund it,” one resident said.
“I say ‘no’ to any road charge at any level, and I do not believe in being tethered as an American, being controlled in my driving habits,” another speaker said.
SANDAG staff had estimated the mileage tax would raise around $34 billion through 2050 to help fund numerous projects — part of a $165 billion plan to reimagine transportation in the region and tackle problems such as traffic congestion and vehicle emissions.
“If you’re going to damage the environment, if you’re going to pollute, there should be a cost,” La Mesa Councilmember Jack Shu said. “We need a new road use charge, or at least a user charge, to make things more equitable and the sooner we do it, the better.”
Other board members, including some who voted for the motion, also pointed out the need now to find other sources of funding for the transportation plan.