Should more highways be built in San Diego County? Or should mass transit be the focus of transportation investment?
Those were the questions discussed at Friday’s SANDAG meeting where leaders approved nearly $600 million in funding for transportation projects across the County.
North and East County leaders stressed why highway expansions are a top concern for them while other leaders from the South Bay and Central County want to see more mass transit options. In the end, everyone got a piece of the pie.
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San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond explained how SANDAG's budget battle ended in approving several highway projects and trolley and coaster train additions.
The budget will purchase new COASTER trains for the North County Transit District and add trolley cars to the Metropolitan Transit System.
North and East County leaders fearful of losing out on funding for highway projects can also rest easy. The bulk of the budget, Desmond said, will go to highway projects like converting HOV lanes on Interstate 5 to express lanes.
Portions of the budget will also fund the new central transit hub, which SANDAG says will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help the county in the long run.
Desmond and other leaders called Friday’s approval a reasonable compromise. SANDAG will meet one more time next month to officially approve the new budget plan.