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What is SANDAG?

What is SANDAG? It's the most powerful agency most people likely have never heard of. The agency holds tremendous power and influence over the future direction of San Diego County and the lives of the 3,000,000 residents who call the region 'home.' SANDAG stands for San Diego Association of Governments, and is the regional planning group for San Diego County. It is run by a governing Board of Directors comprised of mayors, councilmembers, and county supervisors from each of the region's 19 local governments (who are voting members), and supplemented by advisory member representatives from various entities and locales in the region, as well as Imperial County and Mexico.

SANDAG, along with the Southern California Association of Governments, are the only metropolitan planning agencies in Southern California.

In 2017, Assembly Bill (AB) 805 changed the manner in which votes were carried out at SANDAG. This changed the voting structure to a weighted vote, where any four cities representing a majority of the county's population could invoke a weighted vote when desired. This shifted the balance of power to more densely populated (and less conservative areas) in the urban core.

The same year, SANDAG also had a scandal centering around its erroneous forecasted revenue projections for ballot measure Proposition A and the agency's ensuing response. You can learn more about that here and here.

In the meantime, the agency oversees a $1.14 Billion annual budget. They hold the power and the purse strings when it comes to deciding the future of transportation in the region (and often frequently the direction of housing, wildlife protection, habitat conservation, climate change, and aviation strategic planning, to name a few others.) We urge you to pay attention to the happenings at this agency. It deeply impacts your future and your pocketbook.


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