I’ve been familiar with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) for years, primarily from their annual plea to area employers to promote “Bike To Work Week” to their staff. It’s caught on really well (sarcasm intended). SANDAG bills themselves as “San Diego’s Regional Planning Agency”, a title which could not be more accurate. And that, in itself, is a big problem for the citizenry of San Diego County! This agency is in a constant state of planning projects that are pure fantasy, and if many were brought to serious discussion, could not possibly be funded. For a prime example of my claim, look no further than their latest transportation flight of imagination, the science-fiction saga entitled “Airport Multimodal Accessibility Plan” (AMAP).
With thanks to California Senate Bill 10 of 2007, sponsored by none other than long-time local bureaucrat-hack Christine Kehoe (who is way over-due to be put out to political pasture; she did extensive damage to the people of San Diego when serving on the City Council), SANDAG was tasked with “improving the regional airport system” within San Diego County. The AMAP is to “identify surface transportation infrastructure needs associated with future airport expansion,” while an accompanying “Regional Aviation Strategic Plan” (RASP) “will identify the airport infrastructure needed to meet future aviation demand.” Still with me? These two grand volumes of government gas roll-up into a master-piece entitled, “The 2050 Regional Transportation Plan” (RTP). That is correct; this ridiculous exercise makes absurd assumptions of projected passenger and cargo air traffic needs 38 years in our future! Ever heard the line “this is an enigma wrapped in a riddle surrounded by a mystery?” Look no further!
It gets better, folks! Guess what current and proposed publicly-funded assets are expected to play starring roles in this futuristic extravaganza? Well, front and center is a cross-border partnership with Tijuana International Airport! Yes indeed, U.S. citizens are expected to flock to Rodriguez International in order to relieve pressure at San Diego Lindbergh Field. Like that will happen; San Diegans won’t even cross the border for a couple of hours to enjoy lobster in Puerto Nuevo anymore due to the fear of crime in Baja! Co-starring in the passenger shuttle portion of the RTP is Jerry Brown and Barack Obama’s pet stimulus project, high speed rail! Yes indeed, bullet trains are going to whisk the business and vacation traveler amongst a host of airports throughout San Diego County, as well as Orange County, Ontario, Long Beach, Burbank and LAX! Confused? Me, too! Proponents of high-speed rail insist it will ease future air traffic pressure on airports, since travellers will find it more convenient and cost-competitive with the major airlines. So why the need for the RASP? Meanwhile, political and big-business supporters of a replacement for “out-dated” Lindbergh Field and its single runway insist a new airport is an absolutely necessary catalyst to enhance economic growth in the region. If true, then why the need for high-speed rail? I’d just as soon SANDAG work on a “Jetson’s” type of transportation plan instead of this nonsense!
There’s no point in me diving any deeper into the depths of this bureaucratic delusion, is there? If you’re a sadist, go ahead and beat yourself up with details on SANDAG’s website. Perhaps unbeknownst to the government stakeholders in all of this, there are competing contradictions all over these reports; too many to even begin documenting here. Naturally, public funding for all of this manure is unknown. What I read into this entire dreamscape more than anything is yet another sequel of one government entity, in this case, the state Senate, providing a useless task to keep a cousin, in this case SANDAG, busy for a few more years in order to safeguard jobs for fellow bureaucrats…..at tax-payer expense. Frankly, I’m surprised that the AMAP, RASP, and RTP didn’t include space travel as part of their study! Or is that project up next?