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SAFE Won’t Fund Emergency Alert System

— A regional board responsible for maintaining roadside call boxes has voted against funding a new alert system for the San Diego Fire Rescue Department. San Diego City Councilmembers Lorie Zapf and David Alvarez sit on the San Diego Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies (SAFE) board, which is concerned with driver safety. The councilmembers had requested $1.7 million to go toward the emergency-alert system but the board rejected the idea.

SAFE provides 15 percent of the funding for San Diego’s Fire and Rescue Helicopters. And Zapf said she believes the request for the alert system was also reasonable since the city’s fire department often responds to accidents.

"We think this is right along the lines of motorist aide, which is the mission of this organization and the reason for the money," she said.

Zapf and Alvarez believe San Diego does not receive enough money for projects from the board.

SAFE’s money comes from a $1 fee charged to every car registered in the county. The city contributes more than a million dollars a year, almost half of the board’s budget. But the city can only receive up to $60,000 in grants every four years.

Zapf said the board has about $10 million in reserves that could have gone toward the alert system.

The majority of the SAFE board voted to continue the issue and asked San Diego's fire chief to return with additional information on the alert system at a future meeting.

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