Eds Note: Portions of this article appeared in Voice of San Diego
By Michael Beck
It’s high stakes campaign time and you’re inundated with conflicting ballot arguments. Measure A is no exception. Following are the progressive, environmental, verifiable facts about Measure A.
Climate change: Measure A would fund the most progressive transportation plan in the State of California in reducing greenhouse gases, significantly exceeding state targets into 2020 and 2035. Yes, number 1 among 15 regional planning agencies in the State of California in reducing greenhouse gas impacts to our climate. Fact. (compare under “technical evaluations”)
Transit: Fully 42% of the measure’s funds will be spent to advance transit in the region. In contrast, 3% of the measure would be spent on general purposes lanes—by any progressive measure, a significant shift towards getting people out of their cars and into transit alternatives. The signature project of Measure A is a new $4.4 billion transit line from San Ysidro to Kearny Mesa—getting south of I-8 residents to job centers and providing huge relief to the nightmare 805 commute.
On day one, the funding would increase frequencies on existing transit lines—reducing the waiting time between cars for the commuters already using the system. Additionally, the measure would add new rail stops at Camp Pendleton and Del Mar Fairgrounds and bus rapid transit (BRT) lanes connecting commuters all over the county to job centers. BRT is a critical, functional gear in the overall transit system.
Active Transportation: $540 million would be invested in bike and pedestrian improvements including bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, and projects such as underpasses that separate trains and trolleys from bike and pedestrian crossings. These improvements not only provide options to get around your neighborhood but invest in the essential neighborhood system connections within the overall transportation system.
Wildlife: Measure A would provide $2 billion in funding for science-based conservation for the region. No regional funding measure in the country would provide this level of science-based conservation funding.
This funding would be used to protect over 100 sensitive plants and animals and their habitats in the San Diego region. Species in dire need of this funding—now!—include golden eagle, quino checkerspot butterfly, coastal cactus wren, Hermes copper butterfly, and western pond turtle.
The vote is of course up or down. It’s an obvious fact that a “no” vote will ensure more congestion, increased greenhouse gases and climate impacts, no new transit, and no habitat funding. Fact.
A “yes” vote on Measure A quantifiably ensures a ‘best in the state’ reduction in climate change impacts, creates much needed new transit, and literally, unprecedented conservation funding. Those are the progressive, environmental, verifiable facts. Don’t take any one person’s word for it, follow the links above. Verify.
Because of the 2/3-voter threshold for a tax measure, the opposition starts off on the two-yard line. That imbalance makes the measure easy to kill, including killing funding to help the natural world. Facts really do matter. Make an informed decision.
San Diego Director
Endangered Habitats League
Note: The editorial board of the San Diego Free Press has taken a position in opposition to Measure A. For more information on this and other election news see our San Diego 2016 Progressive Voter Guide.