October was a very productive month for moving toward Metro's 2016 ballot measure. First, Governor Brown signed SB 767 (De Leon), enabling Metro to go to the ballot and outlining a process that will balance local needs with regionally significant aspirations and appropriate funding goals. Then, at Metro’s October board meeting, staff provided a glimpse into the potential 2016 ballot measure and the long range transportation plan when it approved a staff report initiating the framework process: Now through the summer of 2016, Metro will engage the public in shaping both the measure and the LRTP. What was notable about the staff report:
What was notable about the staff report:
- The board’s unanimous willingness to move forward on the possible measure
- The choice of a very large “augment and extend” sales tax measure that could raise as much as $120 billion by extending the Measure R sales tax beyond 2039 and augmenting it with a new sales tax
- The respect for work already done, such as the inclusion of special projects that had been decided upon through consensus with the council of governments (COGs), and inclusion of the Mobility Matrix, which includes a large number of grassroots-initiated projects
Compliments to Metro CEO Phil Washington for leading the considerable work that’s been done in a respectful and collegial way, including the development of performance metrics to provide a transparent and objective means for deciding which projects should be funded. These metrics include accessibility, economy, mobility, safety, state of good repair, and sustainability, and sub-metrics include job accessibility by population, linkages to major employment and activity centers, number of jobs, annual boardings per mile, reducing greenhouse gases and vehicle miles traveled.
Many of the ideas that we’ve been articulating in our “Straw Man” proposals were included in the staff report. We’re now at Straw Man #50 after constant adjustments made because of feedback from many of you through our blog, social media, meetings and conferences. Among the key projects in the staff report that have been championed by Move LA include some projects begun but not fully funded by Measure R, such as:
- the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor
- converting the East San Fernando Valley Corridor to light rail
- the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor from Cerritos/Artesia to Downtown LA
- the Eastside Extension of the Gold Line to South El Monte and Whittier
- extension of the Green Line to the Torrance Transit Center
Other projects we have championed include extensions of existing corridors and a new bus rapid transit line:
- extending the Crenshaw Corridor to Wilshire Boulevard, West Hollywood and Hollywood
- extending the Foothill Gold Line to Claremont
- extending the Purple Line to Santa Monica,
- Extending the Green Line to the Norwalk Metrolink Station
- creating a bus rapid transit corridor from North Hollywood to Pasadena.
Several programs we proposed were not included in the staff report, however, including:
- Increased Metrolink funding in order to provide express service to regional airports—especially Palmdale, Burbank and Ontario—and to increase the frequency of service with the goal of providing congestion relief and economic development opportunities.
- Funding for clean goods movement including near zero- and zero-emission technologies to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, improve safety, and mitigate the impact of two of the region’s most significant economic drivers—the ports, which are the gateways for trade to the entire nation.
- A “Grand Boulevards” program to improving our arterial streets by investing in complete streets strategies that enhance mobility—walking, biking and transit—and also serve as a driver for economic development.
- A set-aside to provide funding for a countywide student transit pass program that increases access to education, jobs and opportunity, and to provide more paratransit services for seniors and people with disabilities. Universal student transit pass programs across the U.S. have been shown to increase student transit ridership, and may be one of the most cost-effective ways to provide near-term traffic congestion relief.
The next step in this process will be determined at the board meeting on Dec. 3, when the board will finalize and take action on the framework to move forward toward the 2016 ballot and LRTP.
There’s still much work to be done, but Move LA and its coalition partners are very much a part of the process.