SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A blueprint for transportation improvements across San Diego County through 2050 was approved Friday at a meeting of the board of directors of the San Diego Association of Governments.
The 2050 Regional Transportation Plan, which has been under development for two years, sets up $214 billion worth of projects over the next 38 years.
It passed 17-1-1, with Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessom dissenting and La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid abstaining.
The RTP drew criticism from mass transit and environmental activists, who believe the document leans too far toward expanding the area's freeways, at the expense of mass transit and air quality.
However, several board members called the RTP "balanced" between freeway improvements and mass transit. San Diego Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who pushed for transit to be a bigger priority when the plan was presented to city officials, said she was satisfied that her concerns were addressed.
County Supervisor Ron Roberts said members of the public who spoke out against the RTP for environmental problems oppose a lot of things, including a recent solar energy project. The plan meets all state air quality requirements, said Roberts, who sits on the state's Air Resources Board.
"You won't be one of the first regions in the state to adopt a plan to deal with greenhouse gases; you'll be one of the first in the world to do that," Roberts told the SANDAG board.
SANDAG, made up of officials of the county of San Diego and its 18 cities, says the plan improves mass transit, includes bicycling and walking lanes, and promotes programs that reduce demand while increasing efficiency.
"This document represents plenty of compromise, probably no one likes all of it," San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said.
The plan will improve and expand trolley service and highway projects, enable more frequent and reliable Coaster and Amtrak service, increase the frequency of Sprinter service and add limited-stop express Sprinter service.
Sessom said the RTP puts control of transportation and environmental mitigation projects in the hands of a third party, and it doesn't jibe with charts showing projected population growth. Madrid announced he would abstain after listing what he believes are three major mistakes made by regional planners in the past.
Among the earliest freeway projects envisioned in the 2050 RTP are car pool lanes on Interstate 5 from La Jolla to Oceanside and on state Route 78 from Oceanside to Escondido.
In all, the RTP received 4,000 comments from 1,500 individuals and organizations, according to SANDAG. The organization is scheduled to issue an update to the plan in four years.
Weekend temperatures were mild at 0-7 degrees above average. Mountain and deserts humidity will decrease through Monday as high pressure moves over Southern California.
The investigation continues into the tragic killing of a pregnant mother and her two young daughters in Colorado. The girls' father remains behind bars accused in their deaths.
A woman was transported to the hospital Sunday after being bitten by a rattlesnake on the cliffs above Torrey Pines State Beach, according to a spokesperson for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
At least two children had to be hospitalized Sunday as a result of a major crash that blocked multiple lanes of Interstate 8 in El Cajon.
On Saturday, the community of Alpine turned out to help the victims of the devastating West Fire. Dozens packed the Alpine Community Center for a special fundraiser hosted by News 8’s Shawn Styles.
A suspected drunken motorist in a Mercedes Benz on Sunday suffered "numerous serious facial injuries" in the Skyline community of San Diego when he crashed his vehicle into a house, which sustained minor damage, a police officer said.
Military officials on Saturday identified the San Diego- based Marine at the center of a search in the seas southeast of the Philippines that was called off earlier this week.
As the heatwave continues to torment people, shockingly high electricity bills seem to be an added annoyance this summer.
Del Mar racing fans had a different reason to cheer on Saturday. This time it was for Martine Bellocq.