STAY COOL for Grandkids has announced its support for Measure A, the proposed half cent sales tax that will fund major investments in public transportation, open space and other quality of life improvements in the San Diego region. We are happy to join with several other organizations in lending our support to this important initiative, which is on the November 8, 2016 ballot.
Members of the STAY COOL Advisory Board have carefully reviewed the proposed measure, and our organization recently co-sponsored a public forum at which proponents and opponents of the measure presented their views. We have concluded that the proposed measure will provide significant opportunities for the San Diego region to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as follows:
• $7.5 billion to fund public transportation
• $2 billion for habitat preservation
• $540 million for bicycle and pedestrian improvements
• Commitment to build all priority transit projects within 15 years, including the new Purple Line trolley.
• $4.3 billion to cities for local infrastructure as well as climate adaptation
• $1.9 billion for HOV and managed lanes to encourage carpooling and allow buses to bypass congestion
• Enable SANDAG to exceed SB 375 greenhouse gas reduction targets for both 2020 and 2035
We recognize that there is still a divergence of opinion on the merits of Measure A. For example, the San Diego Union-Tribune recently published an editorial opposing Measure A because they believe that self-driving cars will reduce the need for new public transportation investments. At the same time, other well-respected environmental organizations have criticized the measure because they believe it does not provide adequate funding for public transit projects and other investments that will reduce GHG emissions.
The STAY COOL Advisory Board has carefully considered these arguments, but we are convinced Measure A will provide significant funding for projects needed now to reduce our dependence on automobiles and promote compact urban development in areas well served by public transit.
At the same time, it is critically important for SANDAG to continue the dialogue with local environmental groups along with other stakeholder groups as it begins the next update of its Regional Plan. STAY COOL has strongly supported the City of San Diego’s pioneering Climate Action Plan, and we have already begun to provide input to the County of San Diego on its forthcoming Climate Action Plan. We would like to work with SANDAG to make sure its future plans and investment strategies are just as ambitious as those of its local governments with regard to reducing GHG emissions, while at the same time addressing other important environmental, economic and social goals for the region.
The San Diego region is widely considered to be a model for sustainability planning. It is critical for us all to focus on how our plans and actions can lead to reduced GHG emissions and a better quality of life for current and future generations of San Diegans.