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Press Release: Circulate San Diego Releases Report: “SANDAG Reboot”


Media Contact:
Jesse O’Sullivan, Policy Counsel
(619) 301-1381 | [email protected]

Press Release: Circulate San Diego Releases Report: “SANDAG Reboot”

On November 9, Circulate San Diego Released its report “SANDAG Reboot.” The report is a summary analysis of the San Diego Association of Government’s (SANDAG) Draft 2021 Regional Plan (2021 Plan). It is intended to make SANDAG’s proposed plan more accessible to the public. The report is available at A recording of our lunch and learn presentation is available here.

The key take-away from this analysis is that the 2021 Plan reflects a welcome shift in priorities towards less polluting modes of transportation, as compared with the predecessor 2015 Regional Plan.

The near-term changes to the 2021 Plan are positive but modest. Frequency enhancements for existing transit lines will occur by 2025, which is earlier than in the predecessor plan. Near-term improvements are the most consequential elements in the 2021 Plan, because they do not rely on subsequent plans, ballot measures, or legislation to be adopted.

“The near-term changes to the 2021 Plan are good,” said Jesse O’Sullivan, policy counsel at Circulate San Diego. “Increased transit frequencies is a relatively inexpensive investment in more ridership and less cars on the road.”

More significant capital improvements for transit like the Purple Line and Airport Connector would come as late as in 2035. These projects are both more robust, and more expensive than versions in prior Regional Plans. They would also likely require the adoption of ballot measures by the voters.

The most ambitious elements of SANDAG’s 2021 Plan include a regional network of commuter rail. While these projects have attracted the largest share of the media attention about SANDAG’s plans, only Phase 1 of the Purple Line is scheduled to be completed before 2050.

SANDAG proposes to fund many of its larger and later projects with about $60 billion from road charges, more than twice what it expects to generate from ballot measures. SANDAG does not currently have the legal authority to impose most of these road charges, and such charges are politically controversial.

“SANDAG has come forward with an ambitious plan for 2050”, said Colin Parent, executive director and general counsel at Circulate San Diego. “But by basing the plan on speculative funding, SANDAG risks not being able to deliver what it promises.”

About Circulate San Diego

Circulate San Diego is a regional nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing mobility and making the region a better place to move, work, learn and play. We lead a coalition of more than 25 local organizations to support Vision Zero throughout the San Diego region. For more information, visit