Why Measure M Is the Most Important Measure on the Nov. 8 Ballot

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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.

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Yes on Measure M Team Put On a Pretty Good Show!

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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 . . .

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LA Trade Tech President Larry Frank & a Huge Coalition Did the Impossible, Winning a 2nd Federal Empowerment Zone Designation

Frank__Larry_WEB.pngThe 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.

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Measure M: What's In It for Low-Income Communities?

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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.


Seriously Lots of Information About Transit in YOUR LA Area Neighborhood

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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.


Vote YES on Measure M on Nov. 8!!!

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Just gotta say it again: Traffic Relief! Measure M would dramatically improve our transportation system and redefine commutes for residents in every corner of LA County to get all of us where we want to go, when we want to get there, however we choose to travel—train, bus, car, bike or on foot.

It's all about better Connections: Measure M would fund “LA County’s Traffic Improvement Plan,” significantly expanding and supporting the rail and bus transit systems, improving freeways and local roads, building bike paths and repairing sidewalks, and providing first-last-mile connections to transit stations for people of all ages and abilities. Measure M would replace an existing tax with a new tax that would raise $120 billion over 40 years and continue until voters decide to end it.

Read more about Metro's Traffic Improvement Plan.


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.


Who Rides Bus & Who Rides Rail in LA County?

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Metro's 2016 Quality of Life Report is full of interesting statistic/graphics about the public transportation system! Check this: 80% of the population of LA County lives near Metro's 15,000 bus stops and if you include the 20 smaller transit agencies in LA County that partner with Metro 99% of the population lives near a stop. We are more transit-oriented than we think!


How Much Would Measure M Cost ME?

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How much would the Measure M sales tax cost each of us in LA County??? On average less than 9 cents/person/day—just $2.70/month— to create the second largest public transportation (rail and bus) system (after New York) in the U.S. Here's Measure M on the November ballot.


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 Feels Historic!

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More Mobility, Movement, Motion, Maintenance: The Los Angeles County Registrar–Recorder Office has officially designated the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan as Measure M the November 8, 2016 ballot.

Measure M, brought forward by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), is an expenditure plan that would fund a wide variety of transit and highway projects; local street improvements; programs for seniors, students and the disabled; and more over the next four decades.

“Measure M addresses many of the critical transportation needs caused by our aging infrastructure and expected population growth,” said Metro Board Chair John Fasana.

Measure M asks voters to increase the countywide sales tax by a half-cent and continue the existing Measure R tax after it’s set to expire in 2039 until voters decide to change it.

The plan includes a host of major highway and transit projects across the county and many other programs. These include keeping fares affordable for seniors, students and the disabled; improving local streets and sidewalks; earthquake retrofitting bridges; improving freeway traffic flow; expanding the rail and bus system; enhancing bike and pedestrian connections; and keeping the system maintained and in good working condition. The tax measure also embraces technology and innovation to adapt as transportation evolves.

“This plan came from the people, for the people, through a collaborative process where our partners across the county, and the general public, have helped craft the way we position the region for current and future transportation needs,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington.

The full expenditure plan is available for public review at www.metro.net/theplan.


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.


Bad News/Good News on AB 2222

 

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The bad news: AB 2222 was not taken off suspense in the Appropriations Committee Thursday, which means the bill has reached the end of its course unless—and this is the good newsthere is a lame duck session after the Nov. 8 election and the language from AB 2222 is included in a transportation funding bill that does move forward. It's a long shot, as Democrats and Republicans have been trying to reach agreement on a transportation funding bill—and have not been able to—since Governor Brown called for a Special Session on Transportation last summer. But again, the broad bipartisan support that AB 2222 received suggests that it is a possibility, and Assemblymember Chris Holden, the author, has continued to make student passes a top priority.

Another possibility is that the Cap & Trade auction results next week will be more robust than the disappointing results last May—which were caused in part by the lawsuit against the Cap & Trade program and uncertainty about its future—and student transit passes could be included in the GHG Reduction Fund expenditure plan. (GGRF is funded by Cap & Trade.)

And if all else fails, we will be back next year with another student transit pass bill, more determined than ever and with the experience of this session to inform our efforts. As our colleague Josh Stark from TransForm CA, which co-sponsored the bill with Move LA, wrote in an email Friday: "It was a long, hard slog to get to an end without a win, but really, this is just a beginning . . . We have momentum, and we have a popular concept that is ready."

And in the meantime, see that photo above? Cal State Northridge is the first school in LA County to have negotiated an agreement under Metro's brand new student transit pass program, and Pasadena City College, Rio Hondo College and LA Trade Tech are next up in the queue. Funding from a statewide student transit pass program could only help to make Metro's program more robust.

Thank you all for your interest and dedication! Stay with us! We agree with Josh that this is just the beginning. Move LA is in this for the long haul.



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