Metro CEO Phil Washington Says . . .

This is the video of the 3 hour conversation with Metro CEO Phil Washington at the Transit Coalition's meeting on Feb. 4. Phil Washington stayed until he'd answered every last question in the room—and there were many. He talks about:
• the new FAST federal transportation bill
• gentrification
• local hire
• integrating technology into transportation culture
• where we are with the transit build-out
• a sales tax that would generate $120 billion
• student transit passes and clean freight!

The new FAST federal transportation bill:
The new federal transportation authorization is a so-called long-term funding bill. But it’s not—it’s a 5-year bill, which doesn't allow agencies to plan for big projects. Our local sales tax measures, on the other hand, provide the long-term funding needed to ensure projects will get built.

We are seeing the displacement of the very people we thought we were building this system for.

Local jobs:
We may not have the capacity and the qualified workforce that we need to build such a big transit system. We may even have a hard time contracting the work out. This is why we are working with community colleges to create construction careers programs so we know we’ll have a qualified workforce.

Integrating technology into transportation culture:
We are in the midst of a huge acceleration of technology and innovation in the transportation business as in the rest of the world. I think we need to create a culture where innovation is accepted, but there are a lot of people who think their job is to say “no.”

Where we are with the transit build-out:
There are 5 projects under construction: The Gold Line to Azusa opens in March and the Expo Line to Santa Monica will open mid-year. The Crenshaw Line is 50% completed. We’ve completed 15% to 20% of Section 1 of the Purple Line to UCLA and are selecting bids for Phase 2. We’re hoping to accelerate Phase 3 to UCLA and the VA. Construction on the Regional Connector has begun.

A sales tax that would generate $120 billion:
We are talking about a sales tax measure that will extend Measure R for another 18 years and augment it with another ½ cent sales tax for 30 years. That will make us the infrastructure capital of the world. We’re talking about $60 billion for capital projects and another $60 billion to operate the system and fund Local Return. We'll present our investment program to the board in mid-March. There are 2,300 projects submitted by the Councils of Government, worth probably $240 billion—twice as much money as we could raise. So the sausage making has begun. From March to June we’ll take public comment. In June we’ll ask for a vote on whether to put the measure on the ballot.

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