I-5 Widening: Clock is Ticking While Questions Go Unanswered
Our recent commentary in Voice of San Diego encapsulates how and why the San Diego region needs a more clearly defined vision for our future.
During Equinox Center’s Friday, May 6 convening with State Senator Christine Kehoe, Laurie Berman, District Director for the California Department of Transportation, and local business and community leaders, participants raised a number of thoughtful questions—ones which have yet to be discussed in the press, despite the nearly 100 articles covering the I-5 widening in the past year.
There wasn’t room to include all of these in our Voice of San Diego commentary, but they are important and we want to ensure they see the light of day. (Are there others you feel are missing? Email us and we will include them in a follow-up blog, as well as trying to get to the bottom of the answers.)
- Have we stopped to envision what a future San
Diego might look like if we allocated $4.5 billion solely to public transit
projects rather than to widening the I5? For that sum, could we build a
world-class public transit system that would totally redefine our region?
- Children’s asthma is a crucial public health
issue in our region. Equinox Center’s
own research illustrates how children’s asthma hospitalization rates in a
community correlate to its proximity to high traffic congestion areas. With numerous
schools located immediately along the corridor of the I5 proposed for widening,
what efforts will be made to evaluate and monitor the project’s impact on
children’s asthma or other public health issues?
- Does widening the I5 presuppose a continued
commitment to gasoline? What might be the economic impact to our region if
despite infrastructure investments to our freeways, fuel price shocks mean some
residents simply cannot afford to buy gasoline?
- How do federal and state funding restrictions impinge on San Diego’s ability to make meaningful investments in improving its public transit? How can we improve the current system, in which federal and state funds are often earmarked solely for highway projects?