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Wednesday, Oct 4, 2023

COMMENTARY–RITA Puts Transportation Planning on Right Track

The San Diego region has a great opportunity to stop talking and start acting when it comes to future transportation decisions and planning.

Anyone driving our freeways during rush-hour traffic is aware of the serious transportation problems facing our region. Much of the problem stems from a regional planning process at the San Diego Association of Governments. This system must be fixed.

The fact is, Sandag has been a dismal failure in meeting the region’s transportation needs. They have failed those who spend an estimated 36 hours per year sitting in traffic. That’s an unnecessary 36 hours stolen from your family and free time.

Yet, as our frustrations rise, what changes?

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Nothing. Nothing changes because the bureaucrats are in charge and there is a lack of accountability making critical transportation funding decisions. As I mentioned in the State of the County address, the process currently used by Sandag is often dominated by parochial special interests.

State Sen. Steve Peace has introduced the Regional Infrastructure and Transportation Agency legislation, known as RITA. If approved by the state Legislature, RITA will consolidate the governance of six bureaucracies; Sandag, the Air Quality Management District, the Metropolitan Transit Development Board, the North County Transit Development Board, the San Diego Unified Port District and the newly created border infrastructure financing district. And most importantly, RITA will be governed by a board of 10 directly elected representatives.

Elected representatives are held accountable by you and to you. And, this region could greatly benefit by consolidating transportation planning into a single agency unencumbered by the pork barrel politics that have gotten Sandag so far off track.

San Diego has grown from 1.3 million in 1970 to 2.9 million in 2000. By the year 2020, nearly 1 million more are expected to make San Diego their home. With these numbers come an increased demand for road infrastructure.

The Board of Supervisors has taken a leadership role in appointing a subcommittee to work with Sen. Peace to refine his proposal. This region now has an opportunity to make some real, positive changes to meet our transportation needs. RITA will slash bureaucracy, improve efficiencies and most importantly help get this region on the right track , improving our transportation infrastructure now and for the future.

Jacob is a county supervisor representing the 2nd District.


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