September 5, 2003

Taking charge of our future

By Ron Morrison

Imagine a region where jobs and schools are close to home. A region where residents have realistic options for choosing how to travel efficiently throughout the region. Open space is protected for future generations. All of this is possible, if we channel some of the energy and fervor in today’s political climate toward shaping the future of the San Diego region.

While urban sprawl, traffic congestion, and aging infrastructure have taken a toll on our quality of life in National City and the South Bay, we are encouraged by the recent actions from our residents, business and community leaders, and elected officials to reverse these trends and take charge of our future.

An important step in charting this new course is preparing a Regional Comprehensive Plan that will prioritize funding decisions about how and where we will grow in the coming decades, not only in National City, but in surrounding communities.

The Plan will look at the region as a whole, and create a public investment strategy for regional roads, public facilities, public transit, parks, and more. The financing strategy will ensure that regional infrastructure needs are identified and financed on a timely and equitable basis.

Your input into this Regional Comprehensive Plan will help decision-makers link commercial and residential development to our transportation system and improve public infrastructure where this development occurs. The Plan will focus on improving education and job opportunities for our residents and will bring jobs and housing closer together to ease traffic congestion.

In addition, the Regional Comprehensive Plan provides an opportunity to more effectively coordinate land use and transportation issues with our neighboring counties and Mexico.

Earlier this year, hundreds of residents helped the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) define a vision for the San Diego region.

This vision set the stage for actions that National City residents as well as residents from around the region can take to improve our future. Proposed actions include:

 Emphasize major roadway and transit investments in existing and planned urban areas.

 Prioritize funding for transportation and other infrastructure systems to support smart growth development.

 Link habitat corridors with surrounding counties and the Republic of Mexico to create interregional and international preserve systems.

 Pursue a fiscal reform strategy to make residential development more competitive with other types of development.

SANDAG invites South County residents to provide input on key decisions for the future of the region. Please join us Thursday, September 11, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr Community Center in National City. For more information, visit www.sandag.org/rcp.

  The Regional Comprehensive Plan will become a reality with your vision and your commitment.

Ron Morrison is a National City Councilmember and on the Chair of SANDAG.

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