SANDAG Wastes an Astonishing $90 Million on Bike Lanes

Written by Nicholas Vetrisek

San Diego, a city now famous for its unpaved roads and awful traffic, will apparently have to wait a little while longer before getting the funding it desperately needs. It seems that no real progress will be made because some high up city planner—none other than SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata—wants to pay for his pet project.

The SANDAG Board of Directors approved the issuance of the bonds despite criticism saying that they should focus on more important issues like fixing the congestion of highways and pothole-filled roads.

Of course, the program has to somehow be tied to “saving the environment.” Ikhrata said that the project is important to meet the state-mandated goal of reducing carbon emissions. “This region needs to meet very strict state requirements. You need to reduce vehicle travel,” he said. “Bike investments would lead to reducing vehicle miles traveled.”

Yes, despite the fact that carbon emissions in San Diego are already dropping dramatically, apparently more needs to be done and that includes reducing quality of life by taking away from the construction of proper roads.

County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar identified the absurd priorities forwarded by SANDAG, which continues to exploit taxpayers to support a tiny fraction of the local population.

Furthermore, these words from Ikhrata show a major folly of policymakers: the idea that if one thing is made more difficult then people will naturally do the alternative. The problem with this is that not everyone on the road is one person going a short distance. County Supervisor Jim Desmond correctly pointed out that “bicycle lanes do not help young families move their children around. It does not help businesses moving goods around. It does not help the average everyday person who’s trying to get errands done.”

In addition to the diverting of important resources from improving roads to creating bike paths no one asked for, it’s unlikely the funding will even matter. The project is already one year and $79 million over budget.

The money will likely just be thrown into the void, like every other loan to SANDAG. Or it could be shifted around to another, entirely different project. Either way, it’s a horrible trend for San Diego and just one more obstacle in the way of having improved roads.


Photo by Kevin Doncaster via Flickr