Move LA launched its mission in 2007 by convening business, labor and environmental interests, political consultants, pollsters and elected officials to assess whether a transportation ballot measure could win in the election of 2008—and we were there at the victory press conference when Measure R won. We were also there at Union Station on August 31 when LA Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the campaign for Measure M.
Today our mission took a giant leap forward with the LA Times lengthy endorsement of Measure M. Our interest in 2007 was in solving the problem of “soul-crushing traffic,” as the Times called it today. The best way to avoid that traffic is to take the train, and Measure M would build what would become the 2nd-largest transit system in the U.S. Pledge HERE to #VoteYesOnM!
Some of you remember Move LA's conference in the spring of 2014 when we released our “Straw Man” ballot measure proposal and encouraged all of LA County to “dream big.” It was a resounding message, and our coalition grew to include faith-based groups, social equity advocates, older Americans, people with disabilities, and students—a constituency so large it could provide the “margin of victory” allowing Measure M to win.
We believe Move LA has played a special role in what could be the imminent success of Measure M: We created the table around which a long back-and-forth conversation took place over several years and resulted in 51 more Straw Man proposals that eventually allowed stakeholders to reach consensus about which projects and programs should be funded by what became Measure M.
The end result was probably the most robust and well-informed engagement effort ever for a transportation ballot measure in LA County. This included a truly bottoms-up planning process at LA Metro with the result that local governments were fully engaged and that 48,000 people participated in Metro’s public outreach and engagement process—either speaking out at board meetings, writing letters, or attending public forums or telephone town hall meetings.
Of the 13 elected officials who served on the Metro board in 2008 only one remains on the board now who supported Measure R in 2008—Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian—which is indicative of the challenge we faced to keep the momentum going. But Move LA has been there since the beginning helping to develop and drive the conversation and coalition.
There are about 30 transportation measures on ballots across the U.S. in the Nov. 8 election, and ours is the biggest and most ambitious—we are, after all, the 2nd largest metro area in the U.S. so we have to dream big! We are proud of our contribution. We helped keep the dream of a transformational transportation investment alive and this is why Measure M — for mobility, momentum and mojo, at a minimum — is going to win. Especially if we tell our friends, neighbors, family and colleagues to #VoteYesOnM November 8! Pledge HERE to #VoteYesOnM!
The LA Times endorsed Measure M today, saying that in order "to maintain the region's quality of life Los Angeles County has to keep investing in transportation." Move LA says that for all who are stuck in "soul-crushing traffic"—as the Times describes it—#VoteYesOnM and tell family/friends/neighbors/people you work with to vote for Measure M too! The LA Times editorial also said:
"Los Angeles County residents crave fast, convenient and affordable transportation options. Just look at what happened when the new Expo Line extension to Santa Monica opened in May. It was crowded from the get-go, and ridership on the line since then has climbed 42% on weekdays and 90% on Sundays.
"That experience has been repeated again and again as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has opened new rapid transit lines. More than 70% of the riders surveyed on the Gold Line after the extension to Azusa was opened in March said they were new to the train, and 2/3 of those said that they used to drive prior to taking the light rail. The Orange Line busway in the San Fernando Valley has far exceeded ridership projections.
"There’s pent-up demand for alternatives to sitting in soul-crushing, air-polluting traffic. Los Angeles grew into a metropolis by relying on cars and freeways, but the region cannot continue to prosper without investing in a modern, efficient transportation system. Congestion makes it harder to conduct business and move goods — a problem in a region with the nation’s largest port complex. With a half-built transit system, people are left to drive long distances or rely on multiple buses and trains to reach work or school. Or worse, it means they don’t consider certain jobs or opportunities because of the commute."
In November, LA County residents will be voting on Measure M to build a 21st Century transportation network of subway, light rail, bus rapid transit, bus and bike lanes into every corner of LA County with the goal of easing traffic congestion by offering people alternatives to driving. Measure M also provides funding for maintenance of the system and for operations, as well as discounted transit fares for older Americans, people with disabilities and students. Here is a partial list of 74 organizations that have endorsed Measure M.
LA Area Chamber of Commerce
Los Angeles Business Council
Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed)
Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce
American Society of Civil Engineers- LA Branch
Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce
San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership
Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce
Valley Industry Commerce Association (VICA)
Civil Engineers for Infrastructure
Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc
Keller Williams Realty
Preferred Properties LA, Inc.
Shannon & Wilson
LA/Orange Counties Building & Construction Trades Council
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 12
Ironworkers Local 416
Communication Workers of America Southern California Council
National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians- Communication Workers of America Local 53
Service Employees International Union Local 721
Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters
Teamsters Local 396
United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, Local 770
LA Unified School District, Board of Education
Los Angeles Community College District
Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice
Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters
Global Green USA
Natural Resources Defense Council
Bike San Gabriel Valley
Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic (FAST)
Golden State Gateway Coalition
Investing in Place
Jobs to Move America
Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
Los Angeles Walks
Southern California Transit Advocates
The Transit Coalition
Justice in Aging
Central City Association of Los Angeles
Communities Actively Living Independent & Free (CALIF)
Independent Living Center of Southern California
Southern California Resource Center for Independent Living
The Los Angeles Coalition
Westside Center for Independent Living
City of Los Angeles
City of Montebello
City of South Pasadena
City of West Hollywood
American Institute of Architects – LA
American Planning Assoc.- LA
Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI)
Los Angeles Democratic Party
Los Angeles Young Democrats
Avance Los Angeles Democratic Club
Democrats of Pasadena Foothills
East Area Progressive Democrats
New Frontier Democratic Club
Stonewall Democratic Club
Tri Cities Democratic Club
Students have every reason to support Measure M and what would be a transformational investment in LA’s public transportation system ($120 billion in just the first 40 years). It includes, for example, a significant amount of money for bus and rail operations that would help keep fares low, including a dedicated $2.4 billion revenue stream (over the first 40 years) for discounted transit passes for students, seniors and the disabled—and that $2.4 million is a floor, not a ceiling, and could be increased. (Photo from the Student Senate of California Community Colleges Region VII meeting at LA Trade Tech College Sept. 16, with Treasurer Araksya Nordikyan, Legislative Affairs Director Saleem Moinuddin, LA Community College District Student Trustee Alexa Victoriano, Region VII Chair Lorena Aguilar and Parliamentarian Gerson Liahut-Sanchez.)
Measure M would also build at least 16 new rail and bus rapid transit projects, improve every major freeway and highway, repair sidewalks and build bike lanes including closing all the gaps in the 51-mile LA River bike path from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach. This pie chart shows how the money will be spent: 16%, for example, goes to the 88 cities in LA County based on their population and employment. Cities in Southeast LA County and in the South Bay, for example, would get $48 million each year to fund their transportation priorities—whether sidewalks or bike lanes, potholes, intersection improvements or traffic signal synchronization.
The investment plan was developed over an extensive 3-year planning process with all 88 cities in LA County, and 48,000 people weighed in at public hearings or telephone town halls, and the maps available on our website show you that every corner of LA County gets major projects.
In a nutshell, students should vote for Measure M because it will 1) build a bigger transit system, 2) fund better service and keep fares low, 3) build bike lanes and repair sidewalks to make it easier to get to and from stations, 4) create 465,000 good, middle-class jobs that will have Project Labor Agreements and a Construction Careers policy in place to help students and others get into apprenticeship programs, and 5) give us cleaner air and a cooler planet!
For all of these reasons we’d like to help turn out the student vote for Measure M, and are looking for 5 students who would be willing to host events on college and university campuses and help push out a student campaign on social media. Please email Gloria Ohland at Move LA if you have any interest in helping us! (Or call, 21-304-0444.)
(Paid for by Campaign to Move LA, in Support of Transportation Ballot Measure M, Major Funding by Aaron Sosnick, HDR Engineering, Inc. & Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.)
AARP has endorsed and will be campaigning for Measure M to build out LA County’s public transit system—the first time that AARP has ever endorsed a local ballot initiative. AARP is doing this because Measure M would provide funding to keep transit fares affordable for both seniors and people with disabilities—important because the population of LA County residents 65 years or older is expected to increase to 2 million soon (LA County’s population is about 10 million).
"Our county is undergoing a tremendous demographic shift, so we must take action now to keep up and ensure we ease congestion and help seniors get where they need to go," Mayor Garcetti said at an AARP press conference at a senior living apartment in Carson on Tuesday. "Measure M extends transit and improves freeway traffic flow countywide, and also delivers funds to each of L.A. County's 88 cities so they can pursue their own local projects to repave roads, fix sidewalks and fill potholes."
AARP California Director Nancy McPherson said that she looked forward to success in November. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said that he looked forward to joining AARP—in the future.
Also at the press conference were Carson City Councilmember Jawane Hilton, Ron Miller, executive secretary of the LA/OC County Building Trades, Move LA Executive Director Denny Zane, and Move LA Leadership Board President Marlene Grossman (in photo). Denny and Marlene have been discussing the idea of this ballot measure with AARP for more than a year.
At the press conference Move LA Executive Director Denny Zane said Measure M would build “the most modern, advanced and extensive transportation system in North America, with perhaps the exception of Manhattan—but ours will be new. This is an extraordinary opportunity."
Almost on the eve of Labor Day and the day after the launch of Measure M—the plan to build the 2nd-largest transit system in the U.S.—it’s important to remember what Measure R did for us. Approved by 2/3 of voters in November 2008, it gave us a leg up out of the Great Recession, playing an important role in bringing us back from the brink by providing billions of dollars for near-term investment in transportation and a total investment of $36 billion over three decades.
Unemployment hit a high of 10.8% in California in 2009, and 12.8% in LA County. But we are back! Unemployment is down to 5.9% in California and 5.2% in LA County—a rate low enough that some consider it “full employment”—and job production here now appears to be more robust than in the state and nation as a whole. We have a lot to celebrate as we head toward the Nov. 8 election. Read what Ron Miller, executive secretary of the LA/OC Building Trades Council, has to say about the significance of the public investment in jobs and apprenticeship programs.Read more
At the launch of the Measure M campaign in honor of Labor Day and in front of Union Station in the blazing heat (climate change?), Tracy Hernandez of BizFed (the massive countywide alliance of 272,000 businesses) said it best: "This crazy cast of characters does not stand together all that often. But we stand together for Measure M." Next up was LA City Councilmember Mike Bonin, who observed: "We've got more speakers than rail lines!" (Note a very happy Move LA ED Denny Zane to the right!) There were some other good one-liner campaign slogans . . .Read more
LA Trade Tech President Larry Frank & a Huge Coalition Did the Impossible, Winning a 2nd Federal Empowerment Zone Designation
The Planning Report interviews LA Trade Tech President Larry Frank, who along with a broad coalition of elected officials, community leaders, local agencies and nonprofits did the impossible—winning a 2nd federal Promise Zone designation in LA (the South LA Transit Empowerment Zone or SLATE-Z) that opens the door to substantial local and federal assistance: 46% of South LA's 700,000 residents live below the poverty line, and 44.5% work full-time yet still live below 150% over the federal poverty line—more than twice the rate of workers in LA County overall.
Move LA was one of the partners at the very big table set by long-time partner Larry Frank and program director Heddy Nam, and wholly supports the idea that this “transit empowerment zone” can capture the synergy that occurs with concurrent public investment in jobs, economic development, education, public safety, and mobility in South Los Angeles.Read more
Measure M will keep fares low and expand service: Keeping transit fares affordable to those who don't have cars is a huge transportation equity objective. But when both the federal and state governments cut transportation budgets LA Metro is left holding a half-empty bag and has to balance its budget by cutting service or raising fares—both of which hurt transit riders. But Measure M would dedicate 20% of its funding to bus and rail operations so fares can stay low even as service is expanded. Some people aren't aware that Metro's TAP cards are good on both rail and buses, which makes taking transit even easier.
Measure M will provide more and better connections to jobs: As Metro expands the bus and rail system people will be able to get to more places faster and at a lower cost. The Expo Line, for example, stretches through South LA to jobs-rich Santa Monica, which also means that people who live near the Red Line in Westlake, MacArthur Park or East Hollywood can cut through the gridlock to get to jobs on the Westside.
Measure M will provide more and better connections to educational opportunities: It's expensive to own a car, so it's important for students to be able to save money by taking transit. These are just a few of the colleges near Metro's bus and rail system: Cal State LA, USC, Valley College, Pierce College, LA City College, Santa Monica College, LA Trade Tech College, Citrus College and Pasadena City College. The subway down Wilshire to UCLA is under construction. And as the system is expaded more people living in more neighborhoods will have better transit access to higher education.
Measure M will provide more and better connections to recreation: An expanding bus and rail system also means more and better affordable access for more people to cultural events, museums, sporting events, parks, and the beach. Measure M will also fund gaps in the LA River Bike Path, which will run 51 miles from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach!
Paid for by Campaign to Move LA, in Support of Transportation Ballot Measure M, Major Funding by Aaron Sosnick, HDR Engineering, Inc. & Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.
This project by our longtime collaborator the Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology and funded by the TransitCenter (a more recent partner) is a motherlode of information about transit in your neighborhood! Type in your zipcode and you can find out how many jobs are accessible via transit in your neighborhood, how many workers live within a half mile, transportation costs as a percentage of income, walkable neighborhoods within a half mile of transit, workers who commute by bike and live within half mile of transit, farmers markets within a half mile of transit, workers who commute by walking, transit equity . . .
And there's an AllTransit Performance Score, which combines data on connectivity, job access, frequency of service, and commuting habits—it's the most comprehensive assessment of transit quality at the local level ever available to the public.
“AllTransit offers tremendous potential to increase our understanding of the value that high-quality transit provides American communities, by visualizing transit’s impact on job access, economic development, urban mobility, and social equity outcomes,” said TransitCenter ED David Bragdon.