Metro’s decision on June 23 to move ahead with putting a sales tax measure with no sunset on the November ballot does more than double down on the promise of Measure R—the half cent sales tax for transportation approved by voters in 2008. Not only does it provide more money—another $860 million/year—but it extends Measure R so there is no sunset. And the combination of these 2 long-term revenue sources enables financing that will allow the acceleration of so many projects that the lesson learned is clear: Fortune favors the bold.
If voters step up and vote for the new measure—as polling shows voters are willing to do—LA County will embark on a transit expansion program that is unrivaled in the U.S.
Passing a funding measure like this requires a two-thirds vote in California, which means we have to be bold in order to build projects in all parts of LA County that will win over the necessary voters. This requires coalition politics of an extraordinary sort.
The new measure could deliver the necessary votes because it more than quadruples the connectivity of the rail system: Before Measure R riders could transfer from one line to another at 7 stations in the system, but the new measure would build projects that increase the number of transfer points to 32, enabling people to get from one corner of the county to any other corner. This is the secret sauce that will make ridership grow!
But that’s not all! Measure R did not invest in bicycle and pedestrian connections but the new measure will. So not only would there there be increased rail to rail connectivity, and bus to rail connectivity, but there will also be first-last-mile bike and pedestrian connectivity. And that adds up to a totally transformational transportation system in LA County, instead of the dystopian model we have now.
Eight years have passed since the passage of Measure R, and of the 13 elected officials who served on the Metro board then only 2 remain now who supported Measure R. We believe that our biggest contribution has been to help keep the constituencies and the coalition moving forward and the dream of a transformational transportation system alive!
The final vote was 6-0 in favor of AB 2222 (Holden, D-Pasadena) yesterday in the 7-member Senate Environmental Quality Committee—viewed as a clearing house for all GHG-related bills. (Senator Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado, was not in attendance and did not vote.) The hearing room was packed as the committee was considering some 35 bills, and there was a long line of people urging a yes vote on AB 2222, including Metro lobbyist Andrew Antwih, who reminisced about the student transit pass he used to ride RTD buses—"rough, tough and dangerous," he said the bus system was then called—to and from school in the 1980s in South LA.
Reference to the GHG Reduction Fund was removed from the bill—which would create a program to provide discounted passes to low-income K-12 and public college and university students statewide—to help ensure passage since the Cap & Trade program has become, to quote a recent LA Times story, "mired in legal, financial and political troubles that threaten to derail the state’s plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions." Assemblymember Chris Holden, the bill's author, as well as co-sponsors Move LA, Transform and other supporters will be searching for other funding sources for student passes over the next month. The bill was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it is likely to be put on suspense.
We will keep you informed! Thank you so much for your help!
Supporters of AB 2222 include: Gamaliel of California ° Housing California ° Investing in Place ° Kings Canyon Unified School District ° LA Mas ° LAANE ° Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability ° Long Beach Community College District ° Los Angeles Business Council ° Los Angeles Community College District ° Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition ° Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority ° Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative ° Los Angeles Urban League ° Los Angeles Walks ° Los Rios Community College District ° Mt. San Antonio College ° Orange County Transportation Authority ° Pacoima Beautiful ° Pasadena Area Community College District ° Peralta Community College District ° PolicyLink ° Prevention Institute ° Public Advocates ° Safe Routes to School ° San Diego Community College District ° San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District ° San Jose Evergreen Community College District ° SLATE Z ° Southeast Asian Community Alliance ° The Trust for Public Land ° Union of Concerned Scientists ° University of California, Los Angeles ° University of Southern California (USC) ° Ventura County Transportation Commission ° Youth Policy Institute
MONDAY provides one more opportunity to make a call/post/tweet to keep AB 2222 (Holden, Gonzalez) moving forward to create a program that provides discounted student transit passes for low-income K-12 and public college and university students statewide. The bill is beginning a run in the Senate and will be heard in Transportation and Housing TUESDAY!
Please call Senator Ben Allen (Santa Monica) and/or Senator Tony Mendoza (Artesia), who represent LA County on the committee, and call the chair, Senator Jim Beall. (Or call the Senator who reps a district near you—see below.) Just tell the person who answers the phone that you urge the Senator to vote for AB 2222, co-authored by Assemblymembers Chris Holden and Lorena Gonzalez, to create a program that would provide discounted student transit passes for low-income K-12 and public college and university students statewide." You will be asked for your name and home address.
And please post on fb, twitter and instagram!
Here are phone numbers: Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) 916-651-4015 ° Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Modesto) 916-651-4012 ° Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) 916-651-4026 ° Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) 916-651-4036 ° Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) 916-651-4001 ° Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) 916-651-4005 ° Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) 916-651-4020° Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) 916-651-4002 ° Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) 916-651-4032 ° Senator Richard D.Roth (R-Riverside) 916-651-4031 ° Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) 916-651-4010
AB 2222—which creates a program to provide discounted student passes to low-income K-12 and public college and university students statewide—CONTINUES TO GAIN MOMENTUM! The vote on the Assembly floor was 72-6! It will be heard in Senate Transportation and Housing Tues. (6/21) and in Senate Environmental Quality Wed. (6/29).
CAN YOU WRITE OR CALL THIS WEEK?
- A sample letter to Senator Jim Beall, chair of Transportation and Housing is HERE: STPLetterToBeallFINAL.docx PLEASE EMAIL BY NOON WED 6/15 to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax to 916-445-2209 attention: Erin Riches.
- A sample letter to Senator Bob Wieckowski, chair of Environmental Quality is HERE: STPLetterToWieckowskiFINAL.docx PLEASE EMAIL BY COB FRI 6/16 to Rebecca.email@example.com, or fax to 916-322-3519 attention: Rebecca Newhouse.
- Rather call? A list of committee members and sample talking points are HERE: STPScript4CallsJun13FINALFINAL.docx (You only need to call the Senator who serves the area nearest you—for example, in LA County call Senator Ben Allen (Santa Monica) or Senator Tony Mendoza (Artesia) about the hearing in Transportation and Housing, or call Senator Fran Pavley (Agoura Hills) about the hearing in Environmental Quality—and if you are ambitious the chair of the committee.)
Since the Cap & Trade discussion was put off until August and the bill has won broad, bipartisan support we believe that if we win similar support in the Senate we can make the case in August that so many Senators and Assemblymembers support the policy that the bill should be funded out of the GHG Reduction Fund! (Call Gloria at Move LA if you want to know more, 213-304-0444.)
If you wrote a letter to the Assembly you can re-send it with one change—we are no longer asking for the appropriation of $50M/year but rather: “We are writing to support the creation of a program to provide discounted student transit passes to K-12 and public college and university students statewide as outlined in AB 2222 (Holden and Gonzalez) using money from the GHG Reduction Fund. We see this as a way to make student transit passes more affordable and to increase student transit ridership and reduce VMT and GHG emissions.” (See the sample letters.)
THIS BILL IS VERY MUCH ALIVE SO THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST AND PLEASE STAY ON BOARD!
Join us MONDAY at Cal Poly Pomona to talk about cleaner, greener valleys where prosperity is shared and community development and economic development is transit-oriented! Among the issues to be discussed:
- What are the opportunities for TOD (both residential and commercial) along not just the extended (and hopefully soon further extended) Foothill Gold Line but also the sbX bus rapid transit line in the City of San Bernardino, the planned Redlands Passenger Rail project, and Metrolink--especially if service is upgraded to all day long and connections into Ontario International Airport (and into booming DTLA) are improved.
- Can these lines become the backbone for a new economic development model in the San Gabriel, Pomona and San Bernardino valleys and in East LA?
- The return of Ontario International Airport to local control could be a real driver of economic development in these valleys, and one could look to Denver as an example: The 8-county Denver region passed a transportation sales tax initiative in 2004 resulting the the construction of 6 rail lines including one to Denver International Airport. This initiative is credited with catalyzing the growth that's occurred in Denver, one of the hottest real estate markets in the US, and a place that, in the words of a recent Denver Post story: "Is a far cry from the Denver of the 1980s, when the city was choking on a brown cloud of pollution and struggling with a decaying downtown and a sputtering economy." What are the lessons learned for SoCal?
- Consider: The Long Beach airport and John Wayne Airport both have caps on growth, growth at LAX is constrained, and only Ontario has the ability to accommodate the big Airbus A380 planes. How does this opportunity play out for the given also that there is a big logistics hub growing at the intersection of the 10 and the 15, and that there is increased interest in re-shoring manufacturing in the US so as to put goods nearer to consumers. What does this mean in terms of both blue collar and white collar jobs?
At Cal Poly Pomona from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Kellogg West Conference Center. More information, an agenda, and registration here:
Join Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design, Move Inland Empire, and Move LA to explore ways that communities in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties can work together to leverage each other’s assets with the goal of shared prosperity and sustainable development—in the San Gabriel, Pomona and San Bernardino Valleys and in east LA County! What are the opportunities?
- Ontario Airport: Probably the biggest asset and economic development opportunity in the Inland Empire and expected to be under local control soon. How can we work together to ensure a re-emerging Ontario Airport will fulfill its mission as the region’s second major international airport and create new economic development opportunities within its catchment area?
- Metrolink: How can faster and more frequent service provide new economic and community development opportunities, especially if it's connected into Ontario Airport? Can all-day express service between ONT and booming Downtown LA enable both the airport and the commuter rail system to become a larger economic asset for all 3 counties?
- Foothill Gold Line: Plans to extend the line further into east LA County could create opportunities for rail transit into the Inland Empire. How do we ensure benefits and burdens are shared?
- Transit-oriented communities: How can communities in each county take full advantage of the community development opportunities that commuter and light rail systems could create—especially with funding from the state's Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program?
- Goods movement: Can we collaborate on making the goods movement industry cleaner and greener and reduce the air pollution caused by diesel?
- Creating good blue collar and white collar jobs: Can all these assets help to create better access to higher education and jobs in the high-tech and bio-tech industries?
Special guest Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta will provide the keynote, talking about how aviation can be a regional economic driver and how transit connections to airports can create opportunity.
Register now for Greener Valleys 2016: Creating Jobs and Livable Communities in the Inland Empire and the San Gabriel Valley, Monday, June 13, 9:30 am – 3:15 pm, at Cal Poly Pomona’s Kellogg West Conference Center. Pomona, CA.
The Metro Board voted their unanimous support for a proposed new student transit pass program Thursday after students from community colleges, state universities and UCLA lined up to explain why student passes are so important, especially for part-time students who are not eligible for Metro's current student transit pass program. "Part-time students are not part-time because they choose to be," Romel Lopez, student body president of East LA College, told Metro boardmembers. "It's because they are single parents, or students who have to go home and take care of their parents, or students that have to work 40 hours a week and go to school."
Afterward LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti came out of the board meeting for photo opps and selfies with students, and Mayor Garcetti wrote personal notes for students who feared they'd be in trouble for leaving school to testify at Metro.
Friends in Sacramento say the Metro board meeting was watched by some legislative staff members who took note of the enthusiasm for student passes and the bipartisan support on the Metro Board — which showed that transit agencies as well as students are interested in student transit pass programs! Go Metro!
Metro’s new student pass program—which is for now a pilot with 10 schools (we don’t know which will be chosen yet)—will go into effect later this year.
This bill, authored by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) and co-sponsored by Move LA and Transform (in the Bay Area), would provide $50M/year for discounted student transit passes for K-12 and public college and university students. It made it out of the Appropriations Committee Friday with a unanimous vote, though an amendment limited the funding to passes for low-income students. We haven’t seen the language yet so it’s unclear how "low-income" is defined—whether this means students in Disadvantaged Communities or students who get a free or reduced-price lunch, etc.
There will be a vote on the Assembly floor Wednesday. Please call or email your assemblymember and ask her/him to support the bill! Because the bill passed with unanimous votes in both the Transportation and Appropriations committees—and it's hard to get Democrats and Republicans to agree, especially when it comes to transportation—the bill may get off the floor. And then we will have only a week to convince the budget conference committee to include funding for the program in the budget trailer bill. Get those letters of support ready!
TAKE ACTION: Please call or email your Assemblymember and say that you support this bill as a way to improve student access to education and because we all need an educated workforce to keep California competitive!
It was a very good day Monday at Move LA's 8th Annual Transportation Conversation as 500 citizens of this great county talked with many of the leaders who will play influential roles in the decision about whether to put a $120 billion transportation sales tax measure on the ballot in November--and about what it can fund.
The keynote speakers--LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (currently chair of Metro's board), LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, and USC Professor Manuel Pastor--all talked about the public transportation system that $120 billion can build and the opportunities it can create, including community improvements and jobs:
"Regional, rational and equitable is the way forward," said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.
"Every new rail and bus rapid transit line has exceeded our expectations. We can't build rail cars fast enough," said Mayor Garcetti. "We really are becoming the infrastructure capital of the U.S."
Added Manuel Pastor: "Let's keep equity and justice at the center of LA's new transit future!"
There was a remarkable display of unity and optimism among all the business, labor, environmental and social justice leaders who spoke, suggesting that--to use Manuel Pastor's term--this investment can become a "sweet spot" that unites us all.
WE NEED YOUR HELP! . . . THE METRO BOARD VOTES ON A NEW STUDENT TRANSIT PASS PROGRAM THURSDAY
Please come to the Metro Board meeting on May 26 to support the re-vamped student transit pass program that will be presented to the board—or send a student or friend. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas will ask board members to consider the measure promptly at 10 a.m. so students can get back to school to study for finals!
Currently only fulltime students qualify for Metro’s student pass, which costs $43/month—a 57% discount over the regular $100 price but still too much for lower-income students, who say they sometimes have to choose between buying a ticket and buying lunch. Students, school administrators and other advocates are pressing Metro to lower the student eligibility requirement to 6 credits for undergraduate students, many of whom (especially community college students) go to school part-time because they have to work to help support their families and/or pay for school. These are the students who need discounted student passes the most!
The meeting will be at the Metro Headquarters behind Union Station in the 3rd floor boardroom, beginning at 9 a.m. There will be time for only 5 students to speak but as many as possible should come down to the podium or stand up in the audience so board members can see there’s broad support.
SIGN THE STUDENT TRANSIT PASS PETITION
You can do it online HERE. Only 12 hours left, though, if we decide to present signatures to the Metro Board!
SIGN THE “SUPPORT AB 2222” PETITION
You can do it online HERE. This bill, by Asm. Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), would provide $50M/year for discounted student transit pass programs for K-12 and public college and university students across the state, and is likely to be taken off the Suspense File in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Friday. But it is also likely to be stripped of its funding, which means it will need to be funded in the new state budget. However, student transit passes have not made it into the Senate, Assembly or the Governor’s budget proposals yet. We have only a week or so to fix that. You could reach out to your elected representatives! This funding source could help Metro keep student fares low.