Move LA Mission
Move LA’s mission is to build a broad constituency that will advocate for the development of a comprehensive, diverse, robust, clean and financially sound public transportation system for Los Angeles County, champion strategies to accelerate its implementation and policies that will ensure prosperous and healthy neighborhoods around stations where people of all ages and incomes can live, work and thrive.
History of Move LA
The Los Angeles Transportation Challenge
Los Angeles County is one of the most important economic and cultural engines in the United States. We are also America’s gateway to the growing economies of the Pacific Rim making the efficiency of our transportation system a crucial issue for the world. Famously, our community is also the most auto dependent in the nation with the most congested highways and the worst air pollution. Over the past several years, traffic congestion has become increasingly severe while gasoline prices have soared, prompting significant public outcry and worries of economic and environmental decline. Public concern over the state of our transportation system has greatly increased.
These public concerns are amplified by an anticipated 3 million more residents expected in Los Angeles County over the next 30 years. Put most starkly, without a greatly improved transportation system with significantly enhanced capacity, Los Angeles County may be unable to sustain its historic economic leadership role, may see its quality of life seriously deteriorate for all classes, and fail to fulfill its responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases.
This would be a tragedy for the nation – and a calamity for all who live, work, or conduct business here. It would especially aggrieve those generations who will follow us.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) estimates that there are over $60 billion in new priority transportation programs and projects, mostly transit, needed for Los Angeles County to address its current congestion. Yet, in 2007, LA Metro announced that, absent some new significant source, there would be no new money available to enhance transportation capacity here for the next 30 years.
Out of the urgency of this situation and the sense of opportunity posed by the upcoming 2008 Presidential Elections, Move LA was born. Convening the business, labor, environmental and social justice communities into dialogue about the urgency of this problem, the range of possible solutions, and the opportunities available to Los Angeles County, Move LA created the coalition which led to the formulation and passage of Measure R on the November, 2008 ballot. The result: voter approval for a 1/2-cent sales tax increase that will provide an estimated $40 billion in funding for transportation projects in Los Angeles County over the next 30 years. Approximately 70% of these funds will be used for clean public transit projects and programs.
Seeking Solutions, Building Coalitions: the Origins of Move LA
October, 2007: Move LA was initially formed as a working group by Denny Zane, former Mayor of Santa Monica and former Executive Director of the Coalition for Clean Air, with the assistance and support of Terry O’Day, Executive Director, and Diane Forte, Director of Sustainability Projects, both of Environment Now. Zane convened more than 30 leaders representing business, labor, health, environment, social justice, and local communities to examine, in detail, a variety of proposals to identify new sources of funding to meet the current and future transportation needs of Los Angeles County. The working group initially operated under the name the Los Angeles County Transportation Funding Collaborative (LACTFC). Those attending the initial meetings included representatives of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, the Westside Council of Chambers, Urban Partners, JSM Companies, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Laborers’ Local 300, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers, the United Hotel and Restaurant Employees, the Subway to the Sea Coalition, Environment Now, the Sierra Club, the California League of Conservation Voters, the American Lung Association of California, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, and the University of California-Los Angeles Institute of Transportation Studies.
The most significant activity of LACTFC was to facilitate and lead the conference on transportation, held in January 2008.
Those present agreed to the creation of LACTFC and to sponsor and participate in a conference on transportation funding targeted for January of 2008.
January 10, 2008: The It’s Time to Move LA conference was held in downtown LA at the Los Angeles Cathedral. More than 350 participants attended. Speakers included Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Assemblyman Mike Feuer, LA County Federation of Labor’s Maria Elena Durazo, LA Area Chamber of Commerce President David Fleming, Phil Angelides, Mary Nichols, and a number of transportation experts, as well as environmental, business, labor leaders and community members. The entire focus of the conference was on how to best finance essential transportation investments in Los Angeles County: Where’s the money?
The clear conclusion of the conference was that a sales tax increase was the measure most likely to generate sufficient revenues to make a difference and most likely to gain voter approval if .the right coalition could be convened and an effective campaign organized.
After changing its name to Move LA, the budding organization:
• Convened briefing sessions for environmental organizations with LA County Metro staff to discuss the Draft Long Range Transportation Plan for LA County (DLRTP) and how projects and programs might be funded. The goal was to quickly advance environmentalists understanding of the challenges and opportunities in Los Angeles County for expansion of public transit systems and services and how environmentalists can play a serious role in countywide transportation efforts.
• Convened briefing sessions for leaders of the Labor Movement in Los Angeles on the DLRTP with LA County Metro staff. Move LA’s goal was to facilitate the involvement of the labor movement in transportation planning discussions for Los Angeles County and to enhance their interest in proposals for new transportation funding proposals.
• Established working relationship with staff and leaders of the Los Angeles County Area Chamber of Commerce, the San Fernando Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), and other business associations as they convened their members in dialogue about the need for new funding sources to implement the Long Range Transportation Plan.
• Worked with the office of Assemblyman Mike Feuer to develop transportation funding legislation concepts. Out of the concepts came several bills that were submitted to the legislature, including AB 2321 which provided authorization for Los Angeles County Metro to place a 1/2-cent sales tax measure on the ballot to raise more than $40 billion over 30 years to pay for investments in expanded transit services and highway efficiency. The bill ultimately cleared the legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Schwarzenegger, enabling Measure R on the November, 2008, ballot.
• Convened transportation leaders from Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles Counties to discuss ways to get Republican support in the State legislature for the Feuer bills.
• Commissioned a poll of Los Angeles County voters regarding possible sales tax for transportation: The result of the poll of 500 LA County voters showed 69% support for a sales tax measure for transportation. The result has provided crucial confidence for Metro decision-makers considering placing a sales-tax measure on the ballot in November, 2008.
Move LA support, LA County Metro takes a key step
At its April 24 meeting the LA County Metro Board directed its staff to begin preparation of a sales tax measure for the November, 2008, election. If approved the measure would provide $38 billion over 30 years for LA County transportation projects and programs. Move LA mobilized all testimony in support of this action, including the LA County Federation of Labor, Laborers Local 300, Ironworkers, Sierra Club, Coalition for Clean Air, and others.
Move LA achieves consensus across sectors
On June 18, 2008, Move LA convened over 30 organizations from the business, labor, and environmental communities to discuss the proposed 1/2-cent sales tax measure. The meeting was convened by Move LA Executive Director Denny Zane and hosted by Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. In attendance were leaders from business community organizations such as the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Business Federation, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, the Central City Association of Los Angeles, Majestic Realty, and the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA-CA). Leaders from multiple labor unions, including LA-OC Building Trades Council, Operating Engineers Local 12, Laborers Local 300, and SEIU Local 721 participated, as well as leaders from environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, Green LA, CLCV Ed Fund, Environment Now, Coalition for Clean Air, the Transit Coalition, So Cal Transit Advocates, and the Subway to the Sea Coalition.
The Key Accomplishment
Based on testimony from multiple labor, business and environmental leaders mobilized by Move LA, on July 24, 2008, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to place 1/2-cent sales tax on the November, 2008, Presidential ballot. This was Measure R. If approved, Measure R would provide $40 billion over 30 years to build multiple transit projects including a major expansion of bus service throughout Los Angeles County, the Wilshire Blvd. Subway to the Sea, the Exposition Light Rail to Santa Monica, extend the Gold Line from Pasadena to Claremont, the Crenshaw Blvd LRT/BRT project, etc.
On November 4, 2008, Los Angeles County voters approved Measure R by the necessary two-thirds majority. Measure R would constitute the beginning of a transformation of the Los Angeles County transportation system, marking the first major opportunity to shift LA from an auto-dominant community to a community with a robust transit system. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Assemblyman Mike Feuer, author of the key state enabling legislation making this sales tax measure possible, singled-out Move LA and its Executive Director Denny Zane, for its leadership in moving key constituencies and the MTA Board forward on this issue.
To build the coalition, last year, Move LA sponsored a series of conversations and meetings with specific constituencies – business, labor, environmental and social justice – leading to a conference in January, 2008. The goal was to identify the best funding options for LA and ultimately champion their adoption.
The goal of identifying the best policy options as the result of consultation and dialogue between leaders of key constituencies informed by the best expert advice is the hallmark of Move LA’s approach to the vital issue of transportation system development in Los Angeles County. This approach is reflected in the organizations Mission and Goals, reflected above.
Move LA needs to continue this dialogue to build and sustain a broad base of agreement within the Los Angeles County community regarding the need for public investment to ensure a clean, sustainable, efficient transportation system, including a robust transit system, supported by an adequate and reliable funding base.
Move LA activities have benefitted from foundation support, including support from the Annenberg Foundation, Bohnett Foundation, Environment Now, and the Lawrence Foundation as well as contributions from business, labor and the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.