New Law Means Big Changes for SANDAG

Despite fierce objections from several cities, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a significant piece of legislation Wednesday that could dramatically alter transportation in San Diego County.

Assembly Bill 805, authored by State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), will modify the structure of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) board of directors, giving greater voting authority to the largest cities, San Diego and Chula Vista. The new law is expected to significantly impact how the agency spends its more than $1 billion on transportation and infrastructure.

The cities of El Cajon, National City, Poway, San Marcos, Solano Beach, and Vista vehemently opposed this legislation.  They argued it would muffle the voices of the smaller cities on SANDAG’s board.

But Gonzalez Fletcher says AB 805 will put San Diego County’s regional planning agency on track toward a much fairer and more democratic system. Because there are so many small cities, she believes their interests were outweighing that of the majority.

"I'm ecstatic," Gonzalez Fletcher told reporters Wednesday. "The governor does not usually like to tinker with local government ... so we really had to make the case on why this is a unique situation."

As KPBS notes, a scandal over erroneous revenue forecasting and the subsequent departure of SANDAG head Gary Gallegos  likely contributed to the bill’s success.

In addition to the changes to SANDAG’s board of directors, AB 805 will bring changes to the Metropolitan Transit System. A seat currently reserved for an unelected community member will now be eliminated and given to an elected official from Chula Vista.


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