Regional Infrastructure and Transportation Agency

DATE: February 2, 2000
TO: Board of Supervisors
RE: REGIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORTATION AGENCY

SUMMARY:
The current method of distributing regional transportation funding has resulted in each San Diego commuter spending an estimated 34 hours annually sitting in traffic. State Senator Steve Peace has introduced legislation, SB 329, which would create a new agency of directly elected representatives to oversee regional transportation and infrastructure funding decisions. Adoption of this Board letter will result in the appointment of a Board of Supervisors' subcommittee to refine Senator Peace's proposal and make recommendations on this legislation to the full Board of Supervisors.

Recommendation: 
SUPERVISOR JACOB

Appoint a subcommittee comprised of the Chair and the Vice-Chair of the Board of Supervisors to work with Senator Peace to refine his Regional Infrastructure and Transportation Agency proposal and report back to the Board with recommendations on this legislation.

Fiscal Impact: 
These actions can be performed within the existing budget.

BACKGROUND: 
Recently, local leaders have begun a serious dialogue to look at reforming the way certain regional policy decisions are made. Anyone driving our freeways during rush-hour traffic is aware that the current method of deciding regional transportation funding by leaders who are not directly elected by County voters is seriously flawed. The parochialism of the current process has resulted in each local commuter spending an estimated 34 hours a year unnecessarily sitting in traffic.

State Senator Steve Peace has introduced legislation, SB 329, which would consolidate several existing local agencies into a new Regional Infrastructure and Transportation Agency. The new agency would consolidate the San Diego Association of Governments, the San Diego Air Quality Management District, the Metropolitan Transit Development Board, the North County Transit Development Board, the San Diego Unified Port District, and the newly created border infrastructure district and would be run by a Board of 10 directly elected individuals. Because they are directly elected, these Board members can be held accountable by County voters and to County voters.

This region has the opportunity now to make some real and positive change to meet our transportation needs. Senator Peace's bill will slash bureaucracy, improve efficiencies, and most importantly - help get this region moving in the right direction to provide for our local transportation needs. We owe it to the citizens of San Diego County to continue the dialogue on improving the regional decision-making process. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to form a Board subcommittee of the Chair and Vice-Chair to work with Senator Peace to refine his Regional Infrastructure and Transportation Agency proposal and report back to the full Board with recommendations.

Respectfully Submitted,

DIANNE JACOB
Chairwoman