SAN DIEGO, September 8, 2023 - The following is a statement from a coalition of San Diego organizations regarding SANDAG's search for new CEO:
The environmental, health, mobility, and community organizations we represent are calling on the leadership of SANDAG and our region to conduct an open and community-involved hiring process as they replace Hasan Ikhrata as CEO of SANDAG. We need a preeminent transportation planning expert, someone who will not only reach - but surpass - state mandates to achieve an equitable, sustainable future for all residents of San Diego County, with clean air, healthy communities, and green jobs.
As a planning body for a region representing over 3 million residents, SANDAG leadership has a responsibility to conduct a hiring process that, at all stages, is informed by public involvement. The new hire’s qualifications and contractual obligations must reflect San Diego’s need for a candid and diplomatic candidate with experience planning the transportation infrastructure of a major metropolitan area. We firmly believe that the CEO of SANDAG must have a forward-looking vision and actively advocate for all members of San Diego’s community.
This vision for San Diego County is one that embraces multi-modal transportation with options for drivers, transit riders, bikers, and walkers alike. It aligns with state laws requiring massive cuts in GHG emissions and air pollution, most of which will need to come from the transportation sector.
We must center real solutions like the 10 transit lifelines - community-led priorities to advance affordable and frequent transit solutions, access to jobs, and benefit all San Diegans. In recent years, projects like youth opportunity passes, the Blue Line extension, and more have shown what we can accomplish when we work together to chart bold new directions. Now, SANDAG’s leadership must continue to acknowledge and address the current deficiencies and inequities, while working to achieve a sustainable long-term future.
San Diego has the tools to make our transportation system– including bikeways, buslines, and highways– the best in the world, and the CEO of SANDAG holds a pivotal role in shaping our future. For this reason, we are calling on SANDAG to look for candidates with expertise and vision, and to root their hiring process in transparency.