San Diego Business Journal

SANDAG Puts Half-Cent Sales Tax Increase on November Ballot

By Lou Hirsh Sunday, July 10, 2016
   

The board of directors of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has voted to place a countywide measure on the November ballot, proposing a half-cent increase in the current sales tax to finance $18 billion in transportation-related projects.

The measure, requiring the approval of two-thirds of county voters, would raise the sales tax from 8 percent to 8.5 percent over the next 40 years. It is intended to raise dedicated local revenue for infrastructure, highway improvements, expanded trolley and bus operations, and other road and transit-related upgrades.

A July 8 SANDAG statement said the board ordinance approving the ballot measure commits the regional planning agency to “use its best efforts” to complete the highest-priority projects within 15 years. The measure sets a goal to use 80 to 100 percent San Diego County workers on construction projects funded by the measure, where allowed by law, and requires a skilled and trained workforce to perform the work.

An independent taxpayer oversight committee would oversee the expenditure of funds raised by the tax measure, to ensure transparency. More information is at sandag.org/priorities.

The SANDAG measure is among several state and local proposals expected to appear on this November’s crowded ballot. At least two are expected to ask San Diego city voters to raise hotel taxes, with proceeds to potentially finance a new downtown San Diego Chargers stadium and convention facilities.