By George W. Foote
I have been hearing some strong opposition to the proposed San Vicente Road realignment project in recent weeks. The county is proposing the project primarily for increased traffic safety.
Reasons I have heard for the opposition include: Two years of traffic congestion from the construction, a belief that straightening the road will encourage some to drive faster making the road less safe, the cutting of dozens of mature oak trees and destruction of the rural ambiance of the area.
I am sure we will read more from others about these issues in the coming weeks in letters to the editor. I will say that accidents are going to occur no matter what the configuration of the roadway and are usually due to speed, impairment, distraction, inexperience, or weather related road conditions. Case in point, I wouldn’t consider State Highway 67 to be narrow nor winding yet it is plagued with serious accidents.
Whether you are in favor of the project or not, if you are a Ramona Municipal Water District water customer, you need to know this: This isn’t a $20-something million project paid entirely by property tax and state highway funds. It is a $24-something million project because it is going to cost $4 million to relocate the water pipeline that lies beneath that stretch of San Vicente Road.
The county’s position is that the pipeline belongs to the Ramona Municipal Water District and therefore the customers must pick up the tab for the $4 million. There are approximately 9,600 water customers in Ramona so the tab would be just over $400 each. However, the District will be forced to finance the project so they can extend the cost out over several years rather than hit each customer with a large one-time payment.
Financing raises the overall cost even further. You will be paying this cost through higher water rates.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to make a final go-ahead decision on the project in the next couple of months. I wrote a letter last week to County Supervisor Dianne Jacob requesting that she schedule one or more public hearings in Ramona on this issue. If you don’t think it is equitable that you are one of 9,600 people singled out to pay a lion’s share of a road project meant to benefit every commuter, you may want to spend 30 minutes and a 45-cent stamp to let Supervisor Jacob know. Her address is:
Supervisor Dianne Jacob
County Administration Center
1600 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92101 George W. Foote of Ramona was elected as Division 5 representative on the Ramona Municipal Water District Board in the Nov. 6 election.