Action Alert: Tell Metro to Include ALL Community College students in the Fareless Transit System Initiative
On Thursday the Metro Board of Directors will hear a report about the feasibility of providing fare-free transit passes to all low-income residents of LA County (about 70% of all riders) as well as K-12 students from the LA Unified School District, starting in January 2022 and August 2022 respectively.
But last week Metro's Executive Management Committee discussed the possibility of making all community college students fare-free since 75% are low-income, and including the other 25% would not cost that much more. It would also relieve colleges, as well as Metro, of the burden of determining who is low-income and who is not.
We absolutely need support from students—and/or faculty, trustees, staff and other advocates—to make this happen. It's easy, since public comment is at the beginning of the meeting and only 1 minute of public comment is allowed per person. Instructions on how to join are below, followed by more information about Metro's proposal to make fares free—called the Fareless System Initiative or FSI.Read more
39 California Environmental, Environmental Justice, Transit Rider, and Labor Organizations Call on Congress to Increase Funding for Public Transit
On Earth Day, 39 California Environmental, Environmental Justice, Transit Rider, and Labor Organizations Call on Congress to Increase Funding for Public Transit
Frequent and reliable public transit is critical to reducing reliance on carbon-emitting cars and trucks, while also boosting economies and promoting racial justice
LOS ANGELES, CA -- Today, in recognition of Earth Day, 39 organizations representing environmental, transit rider, business, social justice, and organized labor groups sent a letter to the California congressional delegation urging them to increase federal investments in public transit “so that all Americans have access to high-quality, safe, affordable, and reliable public transit service and transit-friendly communities.”
“Reinventing the future of public transit infrastructure is key to tackling climate change,” the letter reads. “Over 28 percent of greenhouse gases in the U.S. come from transportation, making it the largest contributor of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. In California, more than 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation and oil and gas sectors. Now is the time to invest in the public transit infrastructure for the future.”Read more
Join us Wednesday to Talk About Marrying New Technology with “Old School” Transit & Air Quality Solutions
Last year, as we sheltered at home, many of us noticed that for a few weeks the skies were clear, the birds could be heard chirping, and the weather was mild. Many of us knew this respite would not last, and we also know what needs to be done in order for us to live sustainably, reduce transportation emissions, and achieve not just good but great air quality.
Join us next Wednesday, April 21, at 11 am to discuss innovative pilots and projects in SoCal that marry new technology with “old school” transit and air quality solutions that could help bring the clear skies and chirping birds back even when we are not sheltering at home.
We are pleased to host 13 guests who will talk about their work and answer your questions. And we are pleased to also honor Dr. William Burke, who is retiring as Chair of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).Read more
While many are speculating about the future of public transit in the post-COVID world, others are working on innovations to integrate transit with both public and private mobility options—shared rides in cars and vans, on scooters and bicycles, for example—using the new tools that technology has made available.
The intent is to move away from the need for more cars on the road, to make transit more effective, and to help clean up LA County’s increasingly bad air. Many of these new programs are being deployed in disadvantaged communities that are particularly burdened with both limited mobility options and poor air quality.
Join us for this conversation about technology, transportation, and improving public health and air quality. We'll also be honoring Dr. William A. Burke, retiring Chair of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), and talking with State Senator (ret.) Vanessa Delgado, the new Vice Chair of the SCAQMD, and Veronica Padilla-Campos, Executive Director of Pacoima Beautiful and now a Board Member at SCAQMD.Read more
We urge you to attend Metro’s Telephone Town Hall meeting tonight—Wed., March 30, 6:30-7:30 p.m.—to share your thoughts about how a fare-free system would change the way we use transit and help rebuild transit ridership. You must register to join the call, however, and registration closes at 3:30 p.m. Register here: https://tthm.wufoo.com/forms/metro-telephone-town-hall-signup/
Metro has begun a “Fareless System Initiative” study and is likely to recommend an 18-month-long pilot program to provide free bus and rail service for all low-income riders beginning in January 2022 and expanding to include all K-12 students in August 2022.
Move LA has long championed the idea of free and/or reduced fares for college students, and believe Metro will miss an important opportunity by only including low-income college students. We believe the pilot should include all community college students because:
- Ridership pre-COVID was 1.2 million boardings/day and has now fallen to 500,000 boardings/day, causing many to question whether transit will be relevant going forward—we need to find new riders now.
- Community college students are an ideal population for this pilot because about 2/3 are low-income and independent enough and environmentally conscious enough to understand
We had a really really good time at our Spring Forward LA 2021 event last Thursday night honoring the "Transit Transformers" who have played a crucial role in in pushing forward LA County's expanding transit system and transit-oriented housing as well.
Click the graphic above to get a better view of these transit superheroes (L to R): Former Metro Boardmember/former Duarte Mayor John Fasana, LA Business Council President Mary Leslie, Laborers Local 300 Business Manager Sergio Rascon, Metro CEO Phil Washington, Skanska Executive Vice President Mike Aparicio, LA BizFed CEO Tracy Hernandez and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.
2020 was a challenging year, but spring is here—and pretty soon everyone can get vaccinated—bringing hope for the future of LA County, California, and the rest of the world. We took this opportunity to honor the above leaders—in business, organized labor, government and nonprofit organizations—who have worked with us on so many issues since 2008!
But we have much more work to do.Read more
Mike Aparicio has just been named Executive Vice President at Skanska, a Swedish firm that is one of world’s oldest and biggest construction and development companies—one that has signed the Paris Agreement, been named to Forbes list of Best Employers for Diversity several times, and to Fortune’s “Change the World” list of companies pursuing socially or environmentally sustainable practices.
Mike, a third-generation California contractor, began working in his family's road-building business after college, then got work on the Red Line subway in the 1990s, and soon became project manager on what was then called the Blue Line to Pasadena (then the Gold Line and now the L Line)—a construction joint venture project that helped make his career take off.
Perhaps this is partly because of his perspective on construction work: "While most people think it's all about digging and welding and pouring concrete, in fact it has a very human side. Construction is also a people business. One of our biggest calling cards for Skanska is that we try to nurture relationships—with the neighbors, the people who run the agencies, with city council members—because this is also where we live and work.Read more
The Los Angeles Business Council has been, under the leadership of President Mary Leslie, one of Move LA’s important allies: A progressive business group with a keen interest in transit development in LA County—not only in transit but housing as well.
Even more importantly, LABC advocates for both market-rate and affordable housing near transit, especially in transit-oriented housing or TOD, with the goal of creating affordable, livable communities that connect Angelenos to jobs, reduce congestion, and clean the air.
This is where Mary’s interests align most closely with Metro CEO Phil Washington’s: a shared interest in affordable housing near transit.
Washington had championed the idea of constructing housing near the new transit system he was building as General Manager and CEO of the Denver Regional Transit District after the successful passage of a ballot measure there, not unlike the two ballot measures—R and M—LA County voters supported here.Read more
Sergio Rascon became a construction worker like his father when he was 17, tagging along with him to Laborers Local 300 meetings and begging his father to get him into the union, even though he knew the answer was absolutely not—because his father thought Sergio should go to college.
That was in 1971, shortly after the earthquake in Sylmar, and there was a lot of repair work to be done, and Sergio was so determined to work that his father finally gave in. Sergio started out making the union-scale wage of $3.85 an hour—and he loved the work because he was "young, healthy and strong."
His family had come to the U.S. when Sergio was only 10, and he and his brothers worked picking oranges, lemons and grapefruit in Fillmore and Santa Paula on weekends. There was something special about Sergio that people responded to—he was earnest, honest, unafraid, and respected. And it was a very different time—when immigrants could get a green card in less than a month, whereas now Sergio knows people who have been waiting for 8-10 years.Read more
The Los Angeles County Business Federation or BizFed, is a different kind of business organization—a network of existing business networks, a “federation” that dared support a sales tax increase in 2008 and again in 2016 (Measures R and M) even though businesses typically do not support tax increases (bad for business, the thinking goes).
But BizFed CEO Tracy Hernandez stepped up and out to support Measure R in the first months after she created the organization. Note that she and Denny Zane are the only two figures who appear in both Measure M and R photos—Tracy to the right of Mayor Garcetti up top and the left of Mayor Villaraigosa below.
Tracy's friend and mentor, David Fleming, then chair of the LA Chamber of Commerce, had suggested she take the lead in convening all LA’s business groups to work together as a united federation while at the same time maintaining their own autonomy. Fourteen years later BizFed has grown—with 450,000 members (more about that below).Read more