East County News Service
October 11, 2019 (San Diego) -- Late Tuesday night, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1730, which allows SANDAG additional time to develop a “visionary Regional Plan that provides real transportation choices that will enhance connectivity, increase safety and sustainability, and improve quality of life,” according to a SANDAG press release. The agency earlier unveiled ambitious plans to increase mass transit with a long-term vision of adding high speed rail, but has received pushback from some East County and North County officials over SANDAG’s previously announced plans to cut funding for some long-awaited freeway improvement projects such as widening State Routes 52 and improving safety on State Route 67.
“AB 1730 is critical to ensuring that SANDAG has the time needed to develop a fully integrated, world class transportation system for the San Diego region that meets the State’s ambitious climate goals,” stated SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata. “We are grateful for the Governor’s support and want to thank Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez for her leadership and recognition of the great work we are doing here at SANDAG.”
Generally, this bill ensures that SANDAG remains compliant with state requirements so that the agency and local jurisdictions can continue to deliver projects throughout the region without delay.
Specifically, the legislation provides SANDAG with a two-year extension to update the Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy for the region; preserves the current timeline for the Cycle 6 Regional Housing Needs Assessment and local housing element update process; and ensures that the 2015 Regional Transportation Plan, Sustainable Communities Strategy, and related environmental analysis remain valid for state and federal compliance, funding eligibility, and other purposes.
“The signing of AB 1730 allows San Diego County’s local leaders to better prepare for the future growth of our region by focusing on smart growth with improved transit options so we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and accommodate the new housing construction that’s needed to keep our communities affordable for working families,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.
SANDAG is currently in the process of developing its 2021 Regional Transportation Plan. To learn more about the Regional Plan, visit SDForward.com.
For the full text of AB 1730, click here.
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is the San Diego region’s primary public planning, transportation, and research agency, providing the public forum for regional policy decisions about growth, transportation planning and construction, environmental management, housing, open space, energy, public safety, and binational topics. SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government.