Steve Hymon posts another interesting blog on the Source today about a Metro staff report just made public that provides more detail on the possible new “augment and extend” sales tax measure that could raise $120 billion over 40 years if it's put on the ballot in 2016. It would augment 3 existing half-cent sales taxes for transportation with a fourth measure, and “extend” one of the existing sales taxes from a current end date of 2039 to 2057. The 3 existing sales taxes brought in about $2.3 billion this year—40% of Metro’s annual budget—indicating how important local sales taxes are in an era of declining and inconsistent transportation funding from the state and federal governments. Metro has 5 lines under construction now. The story includes links to several other documents: on performance metrics that will be used to help select projects, stakeholder input, subregional project priorities, a roadmap for the LRTP process and more!
Steve notes that LA County’s 9 subregions have already submitted a list of 2,300 "priority projects" that would cost up to $273 billion (!) and that about half the revenues would be distributed to the subregions using a formula based on population and employment. The rest of the money would divvied up among 88 cities and unincorporated parts of the county, and used for transit operations and state-of-good-repair projects, with hopefully enough money left over for the big icononic projects that help sales tax funding measures win: An LA Times story last week called out these 5 iconic projects: extending the subway to Santa Monica and the Crenshaw Line north to Hollywood, building the People Mover to LAX, converting the Orange Line to light rail, and linking the Westside with the San Fernando Valley via a rail line through the Sepulveda Pass.
Metro has scheduled public meetings and focus groups through March, when a draft expenditure plan will have been released, and plans to decide whether to put the measure on the ballot before July.