Councilmember Ellie Haviland, Del Mar’s SANDAG representative, cast votes at SANDAG against accepting $6.1 million in state funding for local bluff stabilization, and against transportation improvements.
No. With two competing proposals on the table, both of which included the bluff stabilization money, Haviland voted for the proposal that had the most environmentally sustainable transportation improvements and included money for I-5 improvements, rather than diverting those funds to SR 78 and SR 67 for less beneficial uses.
The mayors of Poway and Escondido offered a last-minute amendment to the 2020 Regional Transportation budget that removed $60 million in regional Transnet Funds from the I-5 corridor and redistributed it to partially pay for design and environmental review for HOV lanes along the SR 78 corridor, and for widening SR 67 to four lanes. SANDAG reps from Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Imperial Beach and Lemon Grove joined Haviland in voting to use the money to support the addition of express lanes along I-5. The last-minute amendment succeeded in shifting resources from San Diego coastal areas to inland areas, against the recommendation of SANDAG staff based on many factors including safety, cost/benefit, environmental impacts – and state mandates to reduce carbon emissions.
Haviland’s vote was not a vote against transportation improvements: it was a vote to use the money for the most effective improvements. It was a data-based vote, given that the I-5 corridor has much higher Peak Hour Traffic Volume than the routes to which the money was redirected. It was the right vote on environmental grounds, by reducing freeway congestion, commute times, and carbon emissions. And it was the vote that best aligned with Del Mar’s strong commitment to climate action.