Proposition A on the Nov. 3 ballot countywide is a measure that would dramatically improve San Diego County's transportation picture over the next 20 years.
It would impose for two decades a one-half-cent increase in the sales tax, bringing it to 6 1/2%, with the money being evenly distributed to improve and expand highways, local streets and mass transit. The measure has been proposed and would be administered by the San Diego Assn. of Governments (Sandag).
The authors of Proposition A have done a good job of considering the region's total transportation needs going into the next century and in making sure that no geographical area of the county would fail to benefit substantially from it. The measure calls for several new projects, including commuter rail service on existing tracks between Oceanside and San Diego and between Oceanside and Escondido as well as construction of a freeway connecting Interstate 5 and Interstate 15, terminating near Del Mar and Poway. California 52 also would be extended from Tierrasanta to Santee.
Funds from the $2.25 billion expected to be raised over the life of the tax also would be used for needed upgrading of area highways, such as widening California highways 76 and 78, in North County, and California 54, the South Bay Freeway.
But those who are not big users of freeways or commuter trains would benefit, too. Substantial money would be spent improving local streets and expanding bus and trolley service. For example, trolley lines would be added north to University City and North City West and east through Mission Valley to La Mesa, with a stop at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium. In all, 35 miles of trolley service would be added. Programs for dial-a-ride service and discount passes for seniors, the disabled and students also would receive funding.
Local governments would receive money to improve their roads and streets based on a formula that considers population and the miles of roadway. As with all parts of the funding plan, the Proposition A money is to augment, not replace, money that would normally come from other sources such as developer fees or state and federal governments.
San Diego County's traffic problems have increased drastically in the past 10 years, and the trend is for more clogging. Motorists who drive Interstates 5, 8 and 15 at rush hours already know how bad it can be.
Politicians here have become fond of ranting against the "Los Angelization" of San Diego County. Proposition A gives the voters a relatively painless way of combating the kind of transportation nightmares that term implies.