The San Diego Association of Governments and opponents of its 40-year transportation plan will sit down as early as next week to see whether they can negotiate a settlement.

But there’s still a good chance the case will end up before an appellate court.

Environmentalists, affordable housing advocates and the state attorney general emerged with a victory this week when a Superior Court judge ruled Sandag’s plan failed to meet California’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.

After a closed-door meeting Friday, Sandag’s board announced it would negotiate with the plaintiffs.

The board also told its legal staff to pursue an appeal if negotiations fail.

Judge Timothy Taylor predicted that an appellate ruling on the case was all but certain.

I was a guest on KPBS Friday, discussing the judge’s ruling against Sandag’s plan, and some of the open questions going forward. You can listen to it here.

Sandag’s plan lays out more than $110 billion in transportation spending throughout the county over the next 40 years.

Prior to the lawsuit, critics lined up against the plan, arguing it spends too much money widening highways, especially in its early years, and pushes transit projects to the back of the line. Sandag has said the highway widening would create HOV lanes and a new bus system that operates with the frequency of a rail line, and that it gives more money to transit than other sources in each of the four decades within the plan.

The case was joined by Attorney General Kamala Harris and has been watched throughout California because Sandag’s is the first regional transportation plan since a 2008 law required them to outline greenhouse gas reduction levels by encouraging dense, transit-oriented development.

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Andrew Keatts

I'm Andrew Keatts, a managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at

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