The front page San Diego U-T feature article (below) is generally favorable towards the SANDAG (San Diego County’s central planning agency) half percent sales tax increase — a tax increase to get people to not use cars for transportation. But the article makes the case that the SANDAG usage projection figures are a fiction. In other cities, spending such massive amounts of money on non-car transportation results in minuscule gains — if any.
SAN DIEGO’S UNPRECEDENTED TRANSPORTATION GOAL
No U.S. city has quickly managed to get high numbers of residents to swap their cars for trains, buses, bikes and sidewalks. . .
EXCERPT: Metropolitan regions frequently cited as having successfully transformed themselves into mass-transit capitals have made steady gains over decades. Even with widely lauded coordination among forceful lawmakers, enthusiastic businesses and impassioned activists, none of those sites came close to meeting San Diego’s targets.
For example, the city of Seattle, a national model for aggressively promoting alternative modes of transportation, saw a 6.6 percentage point increase in commuters using transit, walking or biking between 2000 and 2014, according to census data.
Arlington County, Va., often hailed for a longstanding policy of building high-density communities around transit lines, reported a 4.6 percentage point bump during the same 14 years. And Berkeley, which has some of the most progressive environmental policies in the nation, experienced a rise of 7 percentage points in that period. While San Diego’s goals focus on its transit corridors, any boost in mass-transit ridership and active transportation in those areas likely wouldn’t come close to offsetting the gulf between the city’s overall objectives and what other urban areas have been able to accomplish.
San Diego wouldn’t say how it arrived at the eyepopping transportation targets, and it’s unclear how serious the city is pursuing them. With transit planning and funding largely in SANDAG’s hands, the city has only a few other tools to encourage people to get out of their cars, such as encouraging developers to build denser, more walkable communities.
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To read the full article, go to the link:
Note that the abysmal city results above are the cherrypicked examples so often cited by anti-car transit boosters. Let’s look at a neighboring city that they fail to mention. According to this recent LA TIMES article, the LA transit agency spent NINE BILLION DOLLARS on rail (overwhelmingly rail) and bus transportation. After 30 years of such spending, they actually now have FEWER riders than they did when the spending started in 1985. Not just a lower percentage — FEWER riders.
SANDAG needs a name change — I favor SANDBAG. It’s the most consistently dishonest government agency I’ve seen to date. SANDBAG’s patron usage projections are always grossly inflated, while their cost projections are wildly understated.
Wait . . . upon reflection, SANDBAG is second worst. When it comes to dishonesty, no agency can hold a candle to the California High Speed Rail Authority — they OWN the dishonesty trophy.