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Sunday, Jul 21, 2024

Sandag Ignores Crucial East County Road Projects

The San Diego Association of Governments recently released a draft of its latest regional transportation plan that will serve as the guide for funding immediate and future transportation improvements throughout the San Diego region.

Composed of representatives from each of the region’s 19 local governments, Sandag has the responsibility of allocating transportation dollars throughout the region. Out of an available $1.9 billion, Sandag’s plan will fund only two major East County transportation improvement projects over the next five years. This is unacceptable.

Seeing the tremendous transportation needs of the East County, Assemblywoman Charlene Zettel and I have been holding transportation summits recently in the communities we represent. During these summits, several critical East County transportation needs have been raised that are not included in Sandag’s five-year plan.

State Route 67

Most notable was the omission of the widening of Highway 67 between Mapleview Street in Lakeside to Dye Road in Ramona. Sandag is proposing to study this corridor before making these necessary improvements. We do not need to waste time and money studying something we already know is so desperately needed. This project must be built now before any more precious lives are lost on this roadway.

State Route 94/125 Interchange

In April, the county Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the completion of this interchange as part of the Highway 125 extension project. With the estimated 150,000 new vehicles that Highway 125 will carry by 2010, this project must be completed at the same time as the Highway 125 extension.

If these projects are not done in unison, the result will be gridlock on surface streets and dangerous traffic backups onto our freeways. Ironically, this project has been ranked by Sandag as the most important freeway-to-freeway connection project in the region, yet is left out of the five-year plan.

Interstate 8

During the El Cajon Transportation Summit, participants voiced their support for the widening of I-8 between Highway 67 and Los Coches.

This widening needs to happen now, not be put off until some future year as proposed by Sandag. There are already frustrating and dangerous traffic jams occurring daily on this section of highway.

The interchange at Bradley Avenue and Highway 67 is operating at a level of service “F” while serving as the primary connection between Gillespie Field and Highway 67.

Considering the regional smart-growth efforts to bring jobs closer to population centers, Gillespie Field could serve as the poster child for smart growth. However, the potential for the land surrounding the airport can only be maximized if adequate infrastructure is in place.

We need to begin the process of improving this busy intersection today. In light of the county’s funding commitment in this year’s budget toward improving the Bradley Avenue intersection, this project should be expedited.

Sandag’s public comment period for their plan is scheduled to end Jan. 12. The Sandag board of directors will hold a public hearing on Jan. 28. I will continue to fight for the inclusion of these projects and others of importance to East County communities.

If you agree that these projects must be a top priority in order to improve traffic flow for East County motorists, I encourage you to write to Sandag at 401 B Street, Suite 800 San Diego, CA 92101, and voice your opinion during the public comment period.

Jacob represents the 2nd District on the county Board of Supervisors.


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