As the population in San Diego County continues to grow, there is an urgency to ensure that this growth is properly planned, economically practical and does not harm our quality of life. Voting yes on Measure A will give voters the ability to improve the quality of life for San Diego County residents, including its people and wildlife.

Supporting Measure A will raise an estimated $18 billion for both the infrastructure enhancements the region needs – including road repair, public transit improvement and traffic congestion relief – and for the preservation and conservation of natural areas that make San Diego County so special.

Measure A will place $2 billion directly into the protection of lands that are important for nature. I work with The Nature Conservancy, and for over 20 years the organization has worked with the county, the state and many other agencies and groups to establish a network of nature reserves in San Diego County. With the support of San Diego residents, the conservancy and its partners have permanently protected natural areas that are important for wildlife, recreation and for maintaining the scenic quality of San Diego County. A lot has been achieved, but more work is needed.

Measure A will continue to invest in protecting San Diego County’s natural areas. It will provide funding to manage and protect areas against wildfires, helping to reduce the loss of life and property, and it will help protect the water quality of our rivers, oceans and groundwater by ensuring the proper treatment of toxic runoff from our roadways.

As I look around our communities, I see that multiple improvements are needed. Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, these improvements are never realized. SANDAG estimates Measure A will direct $18 billion into planning and implementation of beneficial projects for San Diego communities.

A transparent process to use the funds will give the public the opportunity to see how Measure A projects will be implemented. Every project will be clearly listed online, and an independent citizen advisory team will be assembled to ensure all funds are spent responsibly. Annual independent audits of the spending will also be openly posted online.

With the combined investments in infrastructure projects and nature, Measure A’s initiatives will meet the needs of people, plants and animals so that San Diego County continues to function as a healthy and livable community.

Measure A will help make San Diego County a place where people and wildlife thrive. When open space is protected, then urban growth happens in places that maintain the quality of life San Diego residents value. Housing and jobs are located where they are needed and where they are supported by much-needed transit and infrastructure, in turn, decreasing greenhouse gases.

Investing in habitat protection, transit, traffic congestion relief and water quality will aid in improving our community, our environment and our air quality. All residents in San Diego County are a part of an environmental system. Our jobs, quality of life and the environment are connected.

Cara Lacey is the project director for the Connected Lands Program with The Nature Conservancy. Lacey’s commentary has been edited for style and clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here.


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