Hasan Ikhrata
Hasan Ikhrata / File photo by Megan Wood

This post originally appeared in the Nov. 29 Morning Report. Get the daily newsletter in your inbox today.

Hasan Ikhrata, the director of the San Diego Association of Governments, told the Union-Tribune’s Joshua Emerson Smith in a weekend feature that it may soon be time for him to leave the region’s transportation agency.

It’s been nearly a year since SANDAG’s board approved a new, long-term transportation plan for the region, and then immediately voted to tell Ikhrata and his staff to remove its most controversial element – a fee for driving meant to combat climate change and fund transit projects, which Ikhrata has championed since coming to town. Ikhrata and SANDAG’s staff asked the board months later if they were sure that they wanted to remove the fee – leading Mayor Todd Gloria and the board to reiterate the direction – and he then told state regulators he had no intention of complying with the request. The board then voted a third time to remove the fee, which is still part of the plan.

Ikhrata told Emerson Smith he will be on his way out if leaders can’t reach “a common vision for expanding transit.”

“I want to make sure the board, regardless if they’re Republican or Democrat, doesn’t spend every single meeting asking for me to be fired or fighting with each other,” he said. “I want to see civility and feel that we’re making a difference.”

Partisan fighting at SANDAG, though, was less common in 2022 than it had been in previous years, after Republicans and Democrats on the board reached the common vision that they did not support a driving fee to expand transit. 

Andrew Keatts is a former managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego.

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  1. This is so sad and disappointing. San Diego deserves so much better for our transportation system, and we crucify the guy who was just doing what every expert all over the world is saying is absolutely necessary to fix it. As gas taxes become obsolete, road pricing will have to happen, whether sensationalist media likes it or not. The Regional Plan isn’t perfect, but it is designed by people who are intensely aware of the kind of bold work that has to be done to avert the climate and affordability crises San Diego is facing. Unfortunately, small-minded NIMBYs win again and doom us to second-rate cityhood in the process.

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