SANDAG Board of Directors meeting in downtown on Jan. 27, 2023.
SANDAG Board of Directors meeting in downtown on Jan. 27, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

R.I.P. to the driving fee.

This week, one of the most controversial plans in local politics was quashed. The San Diego Association of Governments board voted to remove the driving fee from the 2025 regional plan — and all future plans.

The fee was devised as a funding source to supplement gas tax revenue as hybrid and electric cars became more popular. And it was a driving deterrent to help ensure the region met its emission targets so we can stop ruining the atmosphere.

But now that idea is dead. Not coincidentally, Hasan Ikhrata is leaving SANDAG as executive director soon. He was the fee’s champion. Late last year he told us if the state lets San Diego kill this fee, then our climate talk is fake. Also in that interview he hinted at the news to come: It’s time for him to go.

This week, VOSD Podcast hosts Scott Lewis, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Jakob McWhinney discuss how the fee was snuffed out, the political implications and what’s next as we wait to hear what the state has to say about all this. Plus, the hiring process should start soon as Ikhrata leaves in December 2023. We’ll be watching.

And Also…

  • Your favorite chismosa, Lopez-Villafaña, stumbled upon a Barrio Logan Community Planning meeting video where a cop was kicked out. She sought answers.
  • Politifest is nigh! See the full schedule, pricing and ticket info at This week, our hosts preview their most anticipated panels.

Note: Because Politifest is such a heavy lift (I’m so tired), we will not be in your feed next Friday. But we’ll be serving plenty of content in weeks to follow. Politifest is a goldmine for nerds like us.

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Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at

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