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New SANDAG Exec: Climate Change Will 'Absolutely' Guide Transportation Spending

December 21, 2018 1:42 p.m.

New SANDAG Exec: Climate Change Will 'Absolutely' Guide Transportation Spending

GUEST:

Hasan Ikhrata, executive director, San Diego Association of Governments

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Related Story: New SANDAG Exec: Climate Change Will 'Absolutely' Guide Transportation Spending

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

The San Diego Association of Governments has weathered a scandal over financial disclosures and is now hoping to move forward with a new executive director Asan grata takes the leadership at sandbag after heading the larger Southern California Association of Governments. Hey PBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen spoke with Grada about his plans for sandbag.

You've been on the job for less than a month now but you were already laying out a vision for the San Diego airport and improving transit there.

What does that vision we need the three point three million San Diego is to be able to access the airport with many choices now most of them drive. We want to give a couple more choices that are legitimate and safe transit is one of them. So our vision with our partners is to work together to put the state of the art technologically advanced people mover. That goes to the two terminals connect to what we call Sanyo Grand Central where we will have the coaster track loss on our rail system and the future rail that we're going to plan for San Diego Kamon this Grand Central will have a great opportunity for a great economic zone development housing shops.

People can walk on bike without being without the fear of getting hit by a car. So our vision is simple have more options for people to access the airport because every airport in the world of this magnitude has such a system and we don't.

And it's about time we do send egg sales tax measure. Transnet has been bringing a lot less revenue than was originally forecast. A lot of the projects that were promised to voters are also a lot more expensive now. Do you think that the sandbag board of directors should consider amending that project list and acknowledging that some of these projects may never get built.

I think this should be able to table for discussion because remember not only the project we promised we are going to build but also the things we need in the future to make this a great transportation system. So I think this should be on the table among other things. At the end of the day I think it's premature to talk about funding. Let's define the vision and then we'll see how much it's going to cost and it's not going to be cheap. And let us put under the table all the discussion we need honestly.

And I have a faith in our board that they are ready for a new vision. And I have said let's send the wagons if they think this region is tangible for them they're going to work with us.

The California Air Resources Board came out with a report recently that said that organizations like sandbag across the state are failing to reduce car travel and that this trend could lead to the state failing its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. What do you do with that information.

Just sort of viewers know that I testified in front of their resources board the joint meeting with the California Transportation Commission two weeks ago December 4th. And my message to them is this Yes I think we need to do more to carry the vehicle miles traveled. But we cannot do that without providing choices. And I think we should give the news a chance to provide choices and then come and say you need to meet certain requirement Sendak is not in charge of Lemieux's sandbaggers in charge to put regional transportation and hope that our cities work together with us to link that to land use.

Right now the trouble is going up with actual data. What we need is provide real options to the car and then price the system right and then hope that that will be. That's my message to their resources board. And I think it can be done.

How much is climate change going to factor into your recommendations for how to spend transportation dollars that Sendak controls. Is it front and center every every dollar you spend.

One we have to be sustainable environmentally and financially into the future and we're going to factor in greenhouse gas emissions. My vision is any system you build has to come close to zero. And that's what we're going to send.

And yet I want to show you a picture. This is a rendering of a future trolley station at Balboa Avenue. On the left coast trolley extension as you can see most of the lands immediately right next to the station itself is a surface parking lot. And you said Samdech doesn't control land use but it does control this particular piece of land.

Is this your vision for a 21st century transit stop 21st century transit will have every station on what people could live shop walk bike. I think it's an example of where transit agencies fail their region by not developing every single citizen of this not just one.

I think a lot of transit and bike advocates feel that if only the decision makers were riding the trend the trains and the buses everyday and biking the streets they would realize how those are the areas where there are the greatest infrastructure needs. Do you feel that your staff sandbagged staff other sandbag board members should be experiencing these things firsthand more often and to inform their decision making.

I think without question that the more our board become closer to understanding the options in front of them the better it is. And I would encourage all of us to experience firsthand all of this. Remember we were looking for a transportation system with all of components working together not just one. People say well you are going to focus on transit and I say let us put a good transportation system for the future that will have all of the component. And if you bike you should be able to do it safely. If you take the tram that's great should be as convenient as driving a vehicle.

And if you drive that's OK too. All of them have to be priced in such a way that makes sense.

Earlier this month he told Zandberg board members that it's time to start talking about the future in a very significant way. And you've heard some doubts about whether the board is ready for that discussion. But ready or not you're going to be having it. What did you mean by that.

I believe my job and my team's job is to bring ideas to the board. It's their job to make decisions. So you are not going to bring ideas. It's not my decision and then it's their decision. But I can tell you and tell your viewers I believe our board is ready for charting a new future for us that Sonic right. Thanks so much for speaking with thank you very much.