Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey penned an epic takedown of SANDAG in the Voice of San Diego today. Here’s the money quote:
In San Diego County, public transit, such as buses and trolleys, receives over 50 percent of all local transportation funding, while highways receive just 13 percent. What makes this disparity even more astounding is the fact that only 3.5 percent of commuters ride public transit.
Yes, you read that correctly: More than 50 percent of local transportation dollars are spent to move just 3.5 percent of commuters. This huge disparity is part of the reason why the vast majority of us sit in traffic each day.
It’s no secret that I despise SANDAG and love Richard Bailey (DISCLOSURE: I have donated to his last two campaigns), but Mayor Bailey should be lauded for doing the heavy lifting on the SANDAG Board of Directors. What was once a pass-through agency, run by career bureaucrats and supervised by a cabal of compliance, now has an honest to goodness watchdog.
The Mayor of Coronado can be a pretty cush job: the TOT produces a budget surplus, it’s a ridiculously safe place to live, your neighbors are either wealthy business people or Navy personnel, and it is one of the most beautiful places in the country. When you picture “The Coronado Mayor,” a retired Admiral comes to mind. There is nothing wrong with that but Bailey is different. He is a limited government conservative whose cheery demeanor explains what could be seen as controversial (but principled) votes. He is a worker who reads and analyzes spreadsheets. He believes in his cause and is doing the extra work required to prove it. If he has to cross the bridge, he’s going to make it a worthwhile trip — he is doing that on SANDAG.
Mayor Bailey is taking on San Diego County’s own “Mr. Potter,” SANDAG. He should be rewarded for his reform efforts with a promotion.