Maintaining and growing a strong regional economy is one of the primary goals of the Regional Plan. To help guide the development of the 2021 Regional Plan, the Economic Prosperity White Paper was updated in March 2018, before pandemic disruptions, to reflect the fundamental economic conditions of the region. 

Tiny corner stores all the way up to entire economic sectors—like high tech, tourism, and the military—depend on some of the primary elements included in the Regional Plan, such as an efficient transportation network, affordable housing, parking, and the overall quality of life that makes our region a destination point for travelers from all over the world.

The transportation system acts as the circulatory system for the economy, providing the links between housing and jobs, shops and customers, students and education, visitors and attractions, and businesses and partners. The competitiveness of our job market is directly influenced by our land use decisions and infrastructure investments. In addition, the land we preserve and the design of our communities directly correlate to the quality of life we enjoy and the cost of building and maintaining the infrastructure we need. By providing more housing and transportation choices in the region, the Regional Plan will give employers greater flexibility to grow their businesses and increase economic activity. And by promoting future development that is compact and close to transportation and services, we will reduce infrastructure costs, thereby reducing the burden on taxpayers.

The Regional Plan helps support the San Diego regional economy by:

  • Supporting our high-tech and research industries by promoting clustering, and attracting high-skill workers
  • Increasing access to jobs and education for all San Diego residents
  • Connecting San Diego to the world through trade and tourism
  • Stimulating reinvestment in existing communities

Additionally, through this plan we can determine the economic impacts associated with the level of investment in our transportation network. That means we can see how many jobs will be accessed and created through our investments, as well as any annual increases in economic output for the region. 

COVID-19 Impact on the San Diego Region Economy 

Throughout 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to significant business closures and job losses nationally and in the San Diego region. The impacts resulting from the stay-home order have reshaped the local economy and the effects will be long-lasting. Since the beginning of the pandemic, SANDAG has developed a dynamic model to forecast 40 scenarios based on an array of assumptions. The forecast provides the most informed estimates of the potential impact of specific factors, such as the length of disruption and the severity of the COVID-19 impact on the economy.