Believe It Or Not: LA's Transit Build-out Costs About 8 Cents/Person/Day

LA County has embarked on the largest public works project in the U.S. — with 5 rail lines under construction now — largely because the Measure R half-cent sales tax for transportation is producing revenues of $36 billion over 30 years. That’s a lot of bang for a lot less than a buck — to be exact, only about 8 cents per person a day

A 2008 report for the nonprofit LA County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) suggests the following calculation:

  • The Measure R half-cent sales tax yielded about $700 million for transportation improvements in LA County last year.
  • The report for LAEDC found that 58% of sales tax proceeds are paid by businesses and visitors to LA County, while residents pay the rest — 42%.
  • 42% of $700 million is about $290 million.
  • There are a little more than 10 million people in LA County.
  • This means that on average each resident pays about $29 a year.
  • $29/year divided by 365 days = about 8 cents a day

The 2008 report for LAEDC points out that this 8 cents a day provides a lot of bang for so much less than a buck: It is a giant stimulus for the economy, with construction generating $32 billion in local economic activity and 210,000 full-time jobs over 30 years. And we're doubling the size of the transit system, and reducing traffic, air pollution and GHG emissions.

Can we afford another half-cent sales tax increase? With those kinds of benefits how can we afford not to? (Note: California sales taxes exempt food, housing, transportation and health care.)

Join the conversation about a possible new sales tax measure at Move LA's 7th Annual Transportation Conversation at Union Station on April 22! Register now while the earlybird discount is still in effect. We want YOU to be part of the conversation!



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