It’s sad that reporting on SANDAG’s failures has become as routine as our morning coffees, but that’s the grim reality of the impending financial doom of the agency. Though the regional sales tax-funded program TransNet may be SANDAG’s most familiar trainwreck, their financial problems predate that. Using the controversial measure to fix their problems is like trying to fix a leaking boat with sticky tape.
In the words of Ray Major, SANDAG’s chief economist, when San Diego voters stop paying the half-cent TransNet sales tax in 2048, they’ll only be able to see about half of the regional transportation improvements that tax promised. That, of course, is the best-case scenario.
They’ve been insisting that the money and the transit are going to show up someday, but that day will never come. Projects are already going on the chopping block, proving that SANDAG can no longer toy with the idea that they can really build anything. Everything they teased to voters is projected to cost 130 percent of initial expectations, with revenues barely reaching 66 percent of their respective expectations.
Hasan Ikhrata sweating profusely at a meeting earlier this year
Of course, SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata has benevolent words of wisdom for any anxious taxpayers. “This number could only go down…If I come back to you in a while and this number goes down, don’t be surprised,” he said.
Well, if SANDAG has really found a means of economic divination to lower those numbers, we’d love to hear it.