Funding Our Transportation System

Funding for our transportation network comes from a variety of sources at the federal, state, and local level. In the past, our region looked primarily to the federal and state governments to fund projects. But as resources have become scarce, communities have increasingly developed local revenue sources to supplement federal and state funding. Revenues from the regional TransNet half-cent sales tax, other local taxes, developer impact fees, fares, tolls, and additional local sources now pay for more than half of our transportation improvements. 

TransNet is a countywide half-cent sales tax dedicated exclusively to transportation improvements and environmental conservation in the San Diego region. Originally approved by voters in 1987, the program was extended with two-thirds voter support in 2004.

During the last 30 years, TransNet revenues have been leveraged to secure billions of dollars in federal and state matching funds to help make the region’s big picture vision for transportation into a reality. Learn more about hundreds of projects - highway, bus, and rail projects, as well as bike and pedestrian projects, local street repairs, habitat conservation efforts, and grant programs - that have been delivered through the TransNet program on the TransNet Story Map at KeepSanDiegoMoving.com/TransNet. More information about the TransNet program and its Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee is available at sandag.org/TransNet.

Funding sources typically carry restrictions on their use, specifying what, when, where, and how they should be spent. The TransNet ballot measures, for example, included a list of specific projects with funding priority. Federal and state funds also are often restricted to certain modes of transportation, such as highway, bus, rail, or bike/pedestrian enhancements. SANDAG does not usually receive the funds all at once. Rather, allocations come into the region over time, requiring expenditures to be carefully phased based on revenue projections. Numerous factors, ranging from the state of the economy to new state and federal legislation, can affect the availability and use of the funding.

In light of a variety of factors, a detailed funding strategy will be developed for San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan to effectively allocate funds and maximize our resources to provide transportation alternatives for the region.