Regional Transportation Funding - Jerry Kern for Supervisor

Regional Transportation Funding

Perhaps no issue in this race serves as a more significant contrast between my opponent and I. While he strongly supported the SANDAG sales tax increase, I opposed it. It neglected North County needs, lacked accountability or transparency, and SANDAG misled voters about key facts.
After voters rightfully rejected this proposal and the SANDAG scandal that followed, it’s clear we need a new approach to transportation funding in our region. Under our current system, transportation is funded through an opaque process without adequate public input. Instead of a fair allocation of funds throughout the county, transportation funding tends to flow toward downtown San Diego interests.
Residents of North County deserve their fair share of transportation funding. With increasing congestion, unfilled potholes, and needed infrastructure repairs, it’s critical that we establish an efficient, effective, and equitable method of allocating transportation funding.
Accordingly, if elected Supervisor, my principles for transportation funding will be:
  1. ACCOUNTABILITY – Previous SANDAG transportation proposals have lacked accountability when it came to how the funds were spent. They have essentially provided a blank check in the form of multi-decade tax increases. Any future transportation plans should allocate funding based on whether or not prior deadlines were met, projects have been completed, and budgets have been followed. We shouldn’t be asking taxpayers to hand over more funds if those responsible have mismanaged taxpayer dollars.
  2. BALANCE – A key flaw of Measure A was its lack of funding for the types of projects that North County residents would benefit from. Rather than funding repairs to potholes in unincorporated areas or needed expansions of I-15 and SR-78, Measure A instead dedicated roughly 42 percent of funding to public transit and 14 percent to highways. This overwhelmingly benefited the City of San Diego while neglecting the needs of suburban North, East, and South County. Any future transportation funding must take a more careful approach to ensuring fair funding for all regions, not just those that are well-populated and politically influential.
  3. PUBLIC INPUT – Rather than solicit as much public input as possible, Measure A was mostly drawn up in a downtown office with minimal opportunity for citizens to share their transportation priorities. SANDAG then spent millions of dollars on public relations in an effort to sell their plan to the public. This was backwards, and an unfair use of taxpayer dollars. Future transportation proposals must incorporate significantly more public input in an open and transparent manner.
  4. REFORM – The Measure A projections scandal that occurred at SANDAG highlighted a much bigger problem: We’ve got a giant government bureaucracy making major decisions that impact every resident of our county, with very little direct accountability to taxpayers. In theory, the SANDAG bureaucracy is overseen by a board of directors composed of elected members of area city councils and the board of supervisors. But in practice, the board of directors mostly rubber-stamps the staff recommendations, and when was the last time a city councilmember won or lost a local election because of their voting record on SANDAG.

    We can either continue using the same failed methods for transportation funding, or we can establish a new approach that gives taxpayers what they deserve. Leaders throughout the region need to come together, go back to the drawing board, and establish a new process for allocating transportation funding that is transparent and accountable to voters.

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