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Board Actions - January 2019

Executive Director’s Report

As I continued my efforts to meet stakeholders and learn more about the issues important to the San Diego region, the SANDAG team has continued to make progress on important initiatives. Milestones over the last month included the opening of a $140 million transit project – a new Rapid line connecting the Otay Mesa Port of Entry with Downtown San Diego.

In addition, construction crews opened another 1.5 miles of double-tracked rail line along the coast in Encinitas on January 7, adding to the overall effort to double track the entire line to increase capacity and reduce travel times. Crews also successfully reconstructed the Chesterfield Drive rail crossing in Encinitas during a three-week closure that ended on Jan. 23.

The full length of the South Bay Rapid project was opened to the public with a community celebration in Chula Vista on Saturday, Jan. 26, followed by the first day of full commuter service the next Monday. The Rapid runs along dedicated guideway and carpool lanes from Otay Mesa, through the residential communities of eastern Chula Vista, to Downtown San Diego.

My commitment to listening to ideas and concerns and meeting with stakeholders continues as I head into my third month as executive director of SANDAG. For those I have met and for those who have passed on their thoughts and ideas, thank you. Your ideas matter. It means a lot that we continue to have conversations, whether directly with me or with the staff of SANDAG.

Vice Chair Catherine Blakespear (Mayor of Encinitas), San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and I traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with Representatives Scott Peters and Susan Davis, as well as high-level Navy personnel, to discuss ideas for enhancing airport connectivity, as well as give them updates on our Regional Plan and the Mid-Coast Trolley project.

We continue to refine the scenarios for San Diego Forward: The 2019-2050 Regional Plan to comply with state greenhouse gas reductions. To complement this regional transportation plan, staff has begun to develop a visionary transportation plan – based on big data and evolutionary transportation technology – that will guide the region into the 22nd century. The vision will capture the technological developments that will change the way we all move in, around, and through the region.

The Airport Connectivity Subcommittee, established by the Board of Directors last month to choose the best plan to create an international transportation hub for San Diego International Airport transit and ground access, will meet for the second time on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Interagency teams have been formed in several disciplines – planning, communications, legal and governmental relations – to provide the Subcommittee with the best options. Our partners include: City of San Diego, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, San Diego Unified Port District, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, North County Transit District, U.S. Navy, and County of San Diego. The SANDAG Board of Directors allocated $1 million to drive this planning effort. 

Over the last month, I gave a presentation to the League of California Cities and the Building Industry Association. I also had the opportunity to meet with many community leaders and stakeholders, including: Mark Cafferty, President and CEO of the San Diego County Economic Development Corporation; Chris Kehoe, Commissioner, California Transportation Commission; Jerry Sanders, CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce; Dan McCallister, San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector; Kim Becker, President/CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority; Matthew Tucker, Executive Director of the North County Transit District; Kris Michell, Chief Operating Officer, City of San Diego; Dr. Adela de la Torre, President of San Diego State University; and April Boling, Chair of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

Thank you.

Hasan Ikhrata, SANDAG Executive Director
(619) 699-1991,

January 25 Board Meeting

Regional Monitoring Report
Directors accepted the 2018 Regional Monitoring Report, which helps gauge the region’s progress in meeting the goals and policy objectives of the 2015 Regional Plan. The report also will help to inform San Diego Forward: The 2019-2050 Regional Plan.

According to the report, several indicators appear to be moving in the right direction:

• The region’s water supply has become more diverse and less dependent on imported water
• More housing units and jobs are located within Smart Growth Opportunity Areas
• Use of renewable energy continues to increase
• The regional poverty rate and crime rate continues to decrease
• Border wait times have decreased while border crossing volumes have increased
• Electric vehicle ownership has increased from 1,173 in 2011 to 20,284 in 2016

While others need improvement:

• The annual income needed to afford fair market rent has steadily increased
• After several years of increases, transit ridership decreased in 2016 and 2017
• Air quality (reducing smog) has not improved since 2013
The draft monitoring report was released on December 7, 2018, for a 21-day public review period. No public comments or proposed revisions were received.

To view the full report, visit

Key Staff Contact: Seth Litchney, (619) 699-1943,

Proposed Amendments to the Regional Comprehensive Fare Ordinance and TransNet Ordinance
The Board conducted first readings of proposed amendments to the Regional Comprehensive Fare Ordinance and TransNet Ordinance. Over the past two years, SANDAG has been working with MTS and NCTD to consider various ways to simplify the transit fare system, help fare revenues keep pace with rising operational costs, and minimize impacts to ridership.

To implement fare changes, SANDAG is required to amend the Comprehensive Fare Ordinance and TransNet Ordinance. The recommended fare changes are estimated to result in an annual passenger revenue increase of approximately $7.6 million. Changes to the Fare Ordinance resulting in fare increases were last made in 2009.

Proposed amendments include:

• Introduction of a combined Youth and Senior/Disabled/Medicare Regional Day Pass at $3
• Increasing the age limit from 60 to 65 years for the senior discount across all fare types
• Increased discounts to youth monthly passes (would equal a price reduction from $36 to $23 for Regional, $50 to $32 for Premium Regional, and $82.50 to $58 for COASTER)
• Decreased discounts to Senior/Disabled/Medicare monthly passes (would equal a price increase from $18 to $23 for Regional, $25 to $32 for Premium Regional, and $41.25 to $58 for COASTER)
• Changes to numerous MTS- and NCTD-specific one-way fares and monthly pass prices into simplified Regional Fares
• For improved simplification of the fare structure, removal of certain passes including the separate SPRINTER/BREEZE monthly pass, Trolley transfers, and multi-day passes

Pending final approval by the SANDAG Board of Directors on February 8, 2019, the fare changes would be enacted on March 10, 2019.

For more information, visit

Key Staff Contact: Brian Lane (619) 699-7331,

Annual Review and Proposed Amendments to Board Policies and Bylaws
Directors approved amendments to the SANDAG Bylaws and 12 Board policies following an annual review of these documents by the SANDAG Office of General Counsel to make sure they are up-to-date and relevant. The changes are effective immediately. To view the amendments, visit

Key Staff Contact: John Kirk, (619) 699-1997,

Proposed FY 2019 Program Budget Amendment: Airport Development Planning
Directors approved an amendment to the FY 2019 SANDAG budget to allocate $1 million for consultant services to support existing staff with experts in planning, engineering, transportation modeling, and other areas of expertise to work on a ground access plan that will help support enhancements planned for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s Airport Terminal 1, in addition to looking at the potential for a grand central station in that area.

Tasks undertaken by the consultant teams will include alternatives analysis for a possible people mover, site design for a San Diego Grand Central Station, environmental constraints analysis, real estate proformas, strategic advice for navigating the Federal Aviation Administration, regulatory framework, legal assistance for agreements, and outreach to the public and stakeholders.

It is anticipated that concepts will be brought back to the Airport Connectivity Subcommittee and SANDAG Board of Directors for consideration in May/June 2019.

Key Staff Contact: Coleen Clementson (619) 699-1944,

Data Science and Big Data
Staff provided an overview of a regional data initiative proposed to be included in the FY 2020 SANDAG budget. SANDAG and its partner agencies currently provide a wide range of data and information through websites, web-based applications and tools, reports, and documents. While these platforms have supported the region for many years, more meaningful data intelligence is needed to support innovative regional initiatives to improve the transportation system.
Creating a Regional Data Science and Big Data Platform at SANDAG would let public and private partners access real-time information including economic, demographic, land use, and transportation data like traffic volumes, congestion, transit passenger counts, tolling, and financial information. It would integrate big data from multiple sources and include easy to use mapping, visualization, and reporting tools that add intelligence to the data.

As a result, the Regional Data Science and Big Data Platform would help turn big data into information that can be used more easily and efficiently to improve regional mobility.

Funding for the initial phase of this initiative is subject to availability. If approved, work would begin in FY 2020.

Key Staff Contact: Ray Major, (619) 595-5668,

January 11 Board Meeting

Independent Performance Auditor
Directors met in closed session to conduct interviews and consider selection of a candidate for the SANDAG Independent Performance Auditor position. The Audit Committee had recommended the two finalists to the Board following interviews it conducted with short-list candidates in December. The Board is anticipated to announce the new Independent Performance Auditor in February. 

For more information, visit

Key Staff Contact: Melissa Coffelt (619) 699-1955,

Next Board of Directors Meetings

The next SANDAG Board of Directors meetings will take place on February 8, 2019, and February 22, 2019.

For more information, visit

Project Manager(s)

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or