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With All Precincts Reporting, Measure A Shy Of Two-Thirds Vote

Photo caption:

Photo by Richard Klein

Cars drive on the Interstate-5 freeway in Barrio Logan, Sept. 29, 2016.

SANDAG's Measure A to boost the sales tax to fund transportation projects was headed for defeat Wednesday morning. Some provisional and mail-in ballots remain uncounted.

UPDATE: 7:10 a.m., Nov. 9, 2016:

SANDAG's Measure A to boost the sales tax to fund transportation projects was headed for defeat Wednesday morning. The measure needed two-thirds vote to pass, but had only garnered 57 percent of the vote.

UPDATE: 12:35 a.m., Nov. 9, 2016:

Support for Measure A continued to slip early Wednesday morning. With 48 percent of precincts reporting, 56.9 percent of voters who cast ballots supported the sales tax hike to fund transportation projects. The measure needs a two-thirds vote to pass.

UPDATE: 11:25 p.m., Nov. 8, 2016:

With 35 percent of precincts reporting, Measure A saw a negligible decrease in support, moving farther away from the two-thirds majority it needs to pass. As of 11:21 p.m. 57 percent of voters had approved the measure.

UPDATE: 8 p.m., Nov. 8, 2016:

SANDAG's Measure A to boost the sales tax to fund transportation projects took a lead in early returns, but appeared far short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass. As of 8 p.m., 57.1 percent of ballots counted included a "yes" vote for the measure. The results account for about a quarter of the San Diego electorate, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

Original post:

Measure A, a countywide half-cent sales tax increase, has been the subject of some of the most aggressive campaigning this election season. Neither conservatives nor liberals can agree over its merits, making its passage far from certain.

The measure has been in the making for more than a year. The tax hike would help fund a $200 billion long-range plan for the region's transportation network. The board of directors for the San Diego Association of Governments approved that plan unanimously last year.

Environmental activists harshly criticized the plan for not prioritizing investments in mass transit and infrastructure to support biking and walking. The most vocal critics find the same faults in Measure A.

Who's on each side?

The campaign opposing Measure A, funded largely by the local electrical workers' union, argues it will increase air pollution in South Bay communities with the measure's expansion of Interstate 5. Barrio Logan and freeway-adjacent neighborhoods in National City and Chula Vista already suffer from some of the worst air quality in San Diego County.

Measure A's expenditure plan gives the largest share of revenue — about 42 percent — to public transit operations and capital improvement projects, such as new trolley lines. Supporters say this will make public transit more competitive with cars, while critics say it's not nearly enough to have a substantive impact on car-related greenhouse gas emissions.

The campaign supporting Measure A, bankrolled by businesses and construction firms that stand to profit from the extra spending, has focused on its potential to repair the region's crumbling roads.

The campaign created videos with talking potholes and an app to see where infrastructure improvements would take place in the county if the measure is approved. It also sent out mailers with the slightly misleading claim the measure would give $4.3 billion to road repair (the money could be used for many other things, from beach sand to habitat preservation).

In stark contrast to the divisions behind Measure A, a similar half-cent tax measure in Los Angeles won widespread support from environmental, labor and business organizations. Both tax measures need a two-thirds majority to become law.

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Andrew Bowen
Metro Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover local government — a broad beat that includes housing, homelessness and infrastructure. I'm especially interested in the intersections of land use, transportation and climate change.

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