A passenger boards the trolley at the Old Town station. / File photo by Adriana Heldiz

This post originally appeared in the May 7 Politics Report. The weekly roundup of politics and policy is available to Planetcob members only. Become a member here.

Supporters of a citizens' initiative to raise sales taxes for transit, roads and highways face a deadline this week to qualify for the November ballot.

On May 11, that group will need to submit at least 116,000 valid signatures of county residents to the registrar, who will then have 30 days to count and certify them.

Gretchen Newsom, political director of IBEW 569 and a spokesperson for Let’s Go! San Diego, the group pushing the initiative, said they’ll turn in plenty more signatures than that.

“Well over 100,000 San Diegans are saying ‘Let’s Go’ for safer infrastructure, less traffic and cleaner air – and with such strong, early support we are confident that we’ll qualify the initiative and win in November,” she said in a statement.

The committee behind the initiative has raised $1.6 million total, and has a little over $1 million in the bank. It’s received six-figure contributions from two different labor unions, three engineering and construction companies, and a political action committee sponsored by Airbnb.

Although the measure is championed by a private group, not the San Diego Association of Governments, the measure’s passage is nonetheless essential for SANDAG to complete the long-term transportation plan it adopted last year. Paying for that plan as it is envisioned now requires voters approving half cent sales tax increases in 2022, another in 2024 (in the area covered by the Metropolitan Transit System), and again in 2028, among other new revenue sources the agency expects in the coming years.

Andrew Keatts is a former managing editor for projects and investigations at Planetcob.

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  1. This is ridiculous - In a state that has probably the highest taxes in the nation, the highest energy prices, the highest rest and home cost, San Diego is proposing increasing taxes! This is nuts

    1. It's all a plot to drive tax sensitive Republicans out of town. San Diego boosters likes to claim its “America's finest city” - not that its America's finest affordable city. The goal is to attract more rich people from the rest of the country and places like China, drive out tax hawks and house all the low and middle income service sector workers in Tijuana.

    2. I finally left the state I was born and raised in back in December. Seeing what the unions and the far left are doing to our city and state made me realize that it was time to go. We already have the highest taxes and fees in the country and these people want more. It used to be that if you had a union job, your pay might be a little low but you had great benefits. Now they are paid sometimes 30%-40% higher than similar private sector jobs and their benefits keep getting better. That is the only reason the unions are backing these tax increases, because they know its the only way they will continue to get more money for themselves. Trust me, get out of California and especially San Diego while the housing costs are so high.

  2. I was tryin to think - who are the dupes raising money to buy signatures to put this terrible idea in the ballot? More taxes for empty busses and trains to nowhere? Then I realized it's the Union's who get paid excessively to build these as slowly as possible. Build Bloated Boondoggle.

  3. There is no balance of governance in San Diego. The pendulum has swung out of control and many untold voices are not heard. So long as voters continue to be used as Johns as pawns in political prostitution, our citizens will not have a choice. Dan Smiechowski D2 SDCC Candidate who developers and lobbyists fear most!

  4. The cure for politician's incurable addictions was spelled out by a former First Lady.
    Follow Nancy Reagan's advice.

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