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A ballot measure to invest in our region’s transportation system

This ballot measure is designed to provide a dedicated source of local revenue to invest in our region’s transportation future; these funds can’t be taken away by Sacramento. In November, voters countywide will be asked whether they support a ballot measure to invest in specific highway, transit, open space, bike, and pedestrian projects throughout the community.

SANDAG expects the measure, which would increase the local sales and use tax by one half-cent, would:

  • Invest in our region’s transportation system that needs repair
  • Provide for cities to fix roads and fill potholes
  • Have transparent oversight by local taxpayers to make sure funds are spent responsibly
  • Help address fire safety through open space management and road improvements
  • Create local jobs

Why is a new sales tax needed?

This measure addresses infrastructure needs across the region – from filling potholes on local streets and relieving highway congestion, to improving transit connectivity and preserving more open space. A long range plan called San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan was approved by the SANDAG Board of Directors in October 2015 after three years of extensive public engagement. The plan addresses these issues and includes a careful balance of projects and programs that will continue to build choices into our transportation system. Our region’s population continues to grow, meaning there are more people that need to go to work, school, and run errands, and whether they choose to go by bus, train, car, bike, or walk, a new local funding source is needed to implement projects and programs in the Regional Plan. If two-thirds or more of the voters do not approve the measure, the current sales tax rate would not increase. As a result, these projects might not be implemented or the San Diego region would need to find other ways to pay for these projects.

What projects are included?

Explore an interactive map to learn where highway and transit projects could be completed near you. The mix of projects and programs to be funded by this measure was carefully prepared by looking at the needs of the region and using input from the public and the SANDAG Board of Directors. The result is a balanced plan that covers several project categories:

Infrastructure improvement funds can be used by local cities for fixing potholes, repairing and building roads and streets including sidewalks and bike paths, transit capital, operations, and maintenance as well as discount transit passes; open space acquisition and management, ADA accessibility, and complete streets implementation; beach sand maintenance and replenishment; implementation of transportation-related greenhouse gas reduction and climate adaptation measures; and watershed management measures, including projects that improve water quality.
$4.3 billion
Construction of Express Lanes and carpool lanes on I-5, SR 52, SR 78, and SR 94; carpool connectors at I-5/SR 78, I-15/SR 78, SR 52/I-805, SR 94/SR 15; SR 94/I-805, and I-805/SR 15; highway improvements on I-8, SR 52, SR 56, and SR 67; and freeway connectors between I-5/SR 56, I-5/SR 78, and SR 94/SR 125.
$2.6 billion
Building and operating a new north/south Trolley line from San Ysidro to Kearny Mesa; adding more than a dozen new Rapid routes to provide fast and frequent transit service around the region; double-tracking at various locations on the North Coast rail corridor; replacing vehicles for COASTER, SPRINTER, Trolley, Rapid, and local bus routes; enhancing local bus, COASTER and SPRINTER, and Blue, Orange, and Green line Trolley services with increased frequencies and longer hours of operation; and specialized transportation projects and programs designed to address the needs of seniors, students, disabled, low-income, and veterans.
$7.5 billion
Open space acquisition to implement the region's habitat conservation plans and support long-range plans to preserve 55 percent of our county as open space, and land management activities to maintain trails and remove non-native invasive vegetation that can contribute to wildfires; these funds for preserved open space can help reduce the risk of wildfires.
$2 billion
Bike and pedestrian improvements including bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, and projects such as underpasses that separate trains and Trolleys from bike and pedestrian crossings.
$540 million
Improved timing of traffic signals to reduce stop-and-go traffic on major local streets.
$178 million
Projects such as underpasses so traffic does not have to stop when a train is coming.
$900 million

Source: Ordinance and Expenditure Plan, SANDAG Board of Directors, July 8, 2016

This educational flier provides an overview of the ballot measure. View these informational fliers to learn more about subregional projects that would be completed with funds from this measure: North County Coastal | North County Inland | North City of San Diego | Central San Diego | South County | East County

SANDAG recognizes that accelerated completion of certain high priority projects is needed to provide better connections to regional job centers, provide transportation choices, and support economic/environmental opportunities for the San Diego region. These projects – some of which are in various stages of project development – are part of the Priority Corridors Program listed in the Ordinance; if voters approve the ballot measure, work on these projects would be advanced to complete more than a dozen transit and highway projects within 15 years.

How does a half-cent add up?

Every time you shop or dine in San Diego County, a half-cent sales tax could be invested in our transportation system and other local projects. It may not seem like much, but it adds up over time. funding meaasures graphic picture If a new half-cent sales tax is approved, it would equate to collecting approximately 23 cents from each person in the region every day. Together with taxes paid by your friends, neighbors, and other taxpayers in the region, these pennies add up to $18 billion1 over 40 years that could fund hundreds of projects to keep you moving. The proposed half-cent sales tax is a sales and use tax charged on retail purchases; it does not apply to purchases such as groceries, household utilities, and prescription medicine and medical supplies.

Your tax dollars at work

TRANSNET LOGOAlmost thirty years ago, our region faced a similar situation – the need for new and improved infrastructure. In 1987 and again in 2004, voters approved TransNet, a half-cent sales tax to provide a stable local funding source for transportation projects. Thanks to TransNet, more than 650 projects were completed, including highway, transit, bike and pedestrian, open space conservation, local street repairs, and grant projects and programs totaling more than $13.7 billion2. Of that, $3 billion came from TransNet, while $10 billion were matching state and federal transportation dollars. TransNet funds, and those from the new ballot measure, stay right here in San Diego County to address our region’s priorities; they cannot be taken away by Sacramento.

If you take a look around, chances are that you’ll see TransNet-funded improvements every day – on your commute to work or school, meeting friends in your local neighborhood, or enjoying the beautiful environment around us.

View an interactive story map and learn how every TransNet dollar invested in completed projects helped leverage three dollars from state, federal, and other funding sources.


1Estimated revenue collected based on Series 13 forecast of taxable retail sales, net Board of Equalization fees, in 2015 dollars.
2SANDAG financial records of TransNet expenditures and leveraged funds from state, federal, and other funding sources, as noted on TransNet Story Map located at KeepSanDiegoMoving.com/TransNet.

On July 8, 2016 the SANDAG Board voted to place a measure before the voters titled ‘San Diego County Road Repair, Transit, Traffic Relief, Safety and Water Quality Measure.’ Prior to the Board’s vote, SANDAG prepared informational materials that referred to the proposed measure as ‘Keep San Diego Moving Forward.’ Information that refers to ‘Keep San Diego Moving Forward’ is equally applicable to the ballot measure.